Streetcar Characters Need Therapy

         Lots of people need therapy and do not know it. For instance, all the characters in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play, need therapy. Stanley has anger issues, Blanche is a compulsive liar and a pedophile, and Stella is a dependent in an unhealthy relationship.

         Stanley (Marlon Brando) needs anger management and then prison for the rape of Blanche. He smacks his wife around one night after she does something to upset him while his gambling buddies are present. He forces himself upon Blanche to get revenge on her for all the discomfort he feels she has brought to his home. If he is not carted away for spousal abuse or child abuse, he will pass his aggressive, chauvinistic attitudes on to his newborn child, no doubt.

         Blanche (Vivien Leigh) needs counseling to get her pedophilic desires under control. Her coming onto the young man who came for Star donations could have been pressed as sexual harassment had he chosen to go that way, though in that time period it might not have been taken as seriously as if it had been an older man coming onto a young girl.

         She will have babies with high school dudes if she ever gets out of the asylum, and she will be looked upon by society as today’s society looks upon Mary Kay LeTourneau. She has never developed a mature sexual orientation, kind of like child molesters; and, as a result, she will never be happy because she lets her sexual urges drive her to be with men who are not emotionally mature or able to take care of her as she feels she needs to be taken care of either financially and emotionally.

         Stella (Kim Hunter) needs therapy to overcome her desire to be with men who abuse her physically and emotionally. It is possible her father was abusive, and something about Stanley’s rage turns her on, and this blinds her to the fact that her life is bad most of the time. Stanley says that things had been better before Blanche came, but this was just the case because, before Blanche had come, no one had questioned the unfortunate situation of the couple as Blanche has done. It is not that Stella does not think of her child when she goes back to him. It is that she does not seem to know that this is an unhealthy way to live, possibly because she has never been exposed to truly healthy relationships.

         Stanley, Blanche, and Stella all need psychiatric help. All three of the main characters in the film have emotional problems that will keep their lives bad. The most disturbing thing is that these characters are fully developed; they are not stereotypes. There are lots of real people who have these problems and who do not know it or will not do anything about it. Writing plays like A Streetcar Named Desire and making films based on them is a good way to expose bad social situations to the world. It is to be hoped that someone out of the six billion people around here will be able to figure out a real solution to these kinds of social ills.

Eric Hovis

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