Stella: How Strong-Willed Is She?

     Consider this scene for a moment. Your husband is completely overbearing. He has a hot temper and smacks you around when he gets angry. On top of this, your sister claims that while you were at the hospital having a baby, he raped her. Would you take your baby and leave this man--probably so. But, also consider you have very little education, no career training, and low self-esteem. Now, would you leave your husband--probably not?

     This is the position Stella in Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, was placed in. Stanley was overbearing and abusive. Yet, every time he hit her, she came crawling back to him. What makes a woman do this? Well, in Stella's case, she was scared to leave him. She was going to have a baby. This is during a time that being a single mother was a disgrace. Even if she could get past the humiliation, how would she support this baby? What type of job training did she have? Kim Hunter is the actress portraying Stella. She does a good job of playing the submissive, airhead wife. I really doubt she was smart enough to figure out this was not the way a man was supposed to treat a woman.

     In the closing scene of the movie, she vows to her baby that she will not ever go back to Stanley again. Let us imagine that this is real life and not a movie. Do I think she will go back to Stanley? Yes! Stella was weak and scared. She totally believed that Blanch (Vivien Leigh) had made up the story of the rape. Her darling Stanley would never do such a thing. Let me just mention that darling Stanley is played by Marlon Brando. Who would ever leave that gorgeous hunk? Stella was totally infatuated with his beauty. Never mind the fact he thinks nothing of smacking her around the room. It is not necessary to mention that there was nothing Stella would not have done to make Stanley happy. She had confused infatuation with love. I think she had not really loved Stanley for a long time. He just supplied her with the type of life she thought she wanted.

     It is truly sickening to see the way Stella just coos when around Stanley. To her, he is a king that could never do any wrong. For that matter, Stella seems to coo around everyone. She shrinks in the glory of her sister, Blanche. To Stella, her sister is the Queen. She also could never do any wrong.

     So, I do not think Stella is a strong person at all. Sure, she says she will never go back. But, the next time she hears Stanley wailing "Stellllllllllllllllllla," she will go running down those stairs, into his arms, under their colored light bulbs.

Shannon Powers

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