Saint or Sinner

        In the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play, we are introduced to two sisters who have led very different lives. Stella is played by Kim Hunter, while Blanche is depicted by Vivien Leigh. Stella is married and is expecting her husband’s first child when Blanche comes to visit. In many ways Stella is the strong sister. She has made a life away from the family home while Blanche chose to stay. Stella, however, has a secret. She has not told her sister about her home or the fact that her husband, Stanley, acted by Marlon Brando, is really quite common in his comportment.

        Blanche has a few secrets of her own that are quickly revealed. She is quite the flirt, and there is always a man around. She has been placed on leave by the school board for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Blanche is a professional when it comes to putting on a façade. She makes people believe that she is much younger than she is, and very few know that she has been widowed by a much younger husband. Blanche has a very busy social life as far as men are concerned. She has many “gifts” from the men in her life, which make her seem to be not quite the girl that she portrays herself to be and often make her look dirty.

         Stella, on the other hand, is married to Stanley. She puts up with his abuse. Stella also protects her sister from the harshness of the world when she can. She realizes that her older sister is emotionally fragile and high strung. Her defense of her sister to her husband is beyond compare, and she believes that there is little Blanche can do wrong. She is very accepting of her sister’s faults, and they very much enjoy the company of one another. All in all I felt as though the two sisters were mirror opposites, and yet they both have their issues and dilemmas in life.

Heather Tromble

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