A Streetcar Named Desire: Should Stella Stay with Stanley?

        So, the 1951 movie version of Tennessee Williamsí 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan, is pretty much one of my favorite movies of all time. Marlon Brando just completely steals my heart in it. But I loved the play before the movie, ever since I read it in high school.

        The ending of the movie makes me a whole lot happier than the ending of the play, but the creative writer in me just does not buy an ending in which Stella (Kim Hunter) manages to leave Stanley. They are too dependent on one another; Stella could not live without Stanley because she has lived with him so long that she would not be able to remember how. The pattern of his abuse it simply too strongly embedded in her psyche by that point.

        I find the ending in the book more agreeable for the writer part of me. It is much more believable then the Strong-Woman Empowered ending of the movie. I think that the ending of the play, with Stella standing there holding her baby and sobbing so hard she cannot even speak while Stanley reaches for a button on her blouse is just about as powerful as an ending of anything can be. It is a portrait of a woman whose heart is breaking. She wants to leave, deep down, but she cannot convince herself too because she is too comfortable in the routine and also has a baby to care for.

        She has just lost her sister because of her husband, and she can do nothing about it, but accept him back into her life once more.

        I would love it if the play ended like the movie on one level, because I want Stella to leave Stanley so badly. But her character simply does not have the strength to do it.

Alexa K Adams