The Happy Ending

         A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, is my favorite film-literature combination in this class. I guess it did not help that I had already seen the play and movie. It is one of the few classic films I like to watch.

         Whether this work has a "happy ending" is hard to tell. Stella takes Stanley back, which is "happy," but Blanche gets sent to the funny farm. I like this ending, but I do not know that I would say it is a happy ending.

         Regarding Blanche's removal to the hospital, can anyone say if this is a sad ending? Of course, Blanche did some irresponsible things and let her affections run wild from time to time, but it did not make me happy to see her leave. If she had to go, Stanley should have had to go because he is as crazy as a son of a gun. On the other hand, I could see where some people might think Blanche is a lying, cold-hearted bitch. She lies from the beginning to the end. So are you happy Blanche left?

         Tennesee Williams does an excellent job ending this play. I think he leaves the ending somewhat mysterious because it is obvious that it is a personal opinion whether or not it is a happy ending.

         My opinion is that Blanche is somewhat of a leader. She does things then that were unheard of. In our time, things go on like that a lot more often. I am not writing to be sexist, but I feel that Blanche was more modern than the rest of the women. However, I also feel that she was scandalous and abused what she received (referring to her job, the estate, and her welcome in her sister's home).

         The only part of the ending I did not like was Stella not knowing Stanley's adultery. Stella is a good-hearted, independent woman who let both Stanley and Blanche take advantage of her. She is kept in the dark at times and forced to choose sides. She takes care of both of them, and they both screw her in return. The desire that Stanley and Blanche had for Stella's affection is so strong and needing that one of them surely has to go. I did not know that Blanche would end up in a mental hospital.

         If I could ask Tennessee Williams one question, it would be about the ending. I would ask him his interpretation of it. I would ask, "Is the audience supposed to be happy that Blanche is in an institution, or should we be sad?" I have a feeling he might respond with something like, "That's for you to figure out." The ending gave me illusions at first that individual would end up on his or her own. It surprised me when Stanley and Stella stayed together and Blanche got sent away.

         The movie ending gave me a more vivid picture than the play. Stanley (Marlon Brando) is sad over Stella, Stella (Kim Hunter) is sad over Stanley, and Blanche (Vivien Leigh) is always sad. The "rape" scene in this piece is vital. It sets up the ending and gives me a reason to cheer for Blanche. Although I am not completely convinced that Blanche did not bring on the rape, I still blame Stanley. He is a roughhousing drunk.

         A Streetcar Named Desire could have had a happy ending. My happy ending version would have involved the help of Stanley toward Blanche. He had not liked her from the start. He may even be the cause of some of her craziness. If he had not bashed her and tossed her around, she might have felt more accepted and be truthful.

         No matter what, the ending of this film-literature combination has a wonderfully ambiguous ending. There is no real clear evidence of a happy or sad ending, but I guess it is for people's own imagination to figure it out. I found neither employment or omission of a happy ending in Williams' Streetcar.

Drew Vincent

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