When talking about A Streetcar Named Desire, the characters that are most discussed are Blanche and Stanley. And this makes sense, as Tennessee Williams clearly made them the focal point of his play. But this means that Stella, poor Stella, can often be pushed to the wayside.

            Stanley and Blanche are on opposite sides; they represent conflicting views. Stanley is a very brutish, animalistic masculinity and overt sexuality. Blanche is a very fragile, delicate femininity and repressed sexuality. Stanley takes pride in his sexual experiences; Blanche is overcome with guilt over hers. Stanley wants to live in a world of blunt reality, while Blanche prefers her own created world of illusion. So where does this leave Stella? Stella is caught between the two, and she represents the melding of their opposing views. She is from the same upper-class world as Blanche, but she has married into the solidly working class. She has lived in both worlds and is able to see the points of both Stanley and Blanche because of this. However, this causes tension: Blanche thinks Stella has fallen too far; Stanley thinks Stella should leave behind everything that reminds her of her past, including her sister. By not choosing sides, Stella shows that she herself doesn’t know exactly where she belongs.

            Even more than just being caught between two classes, Stella represents the middle-ground of Stanley and Blanche’s ways of thinking. She isn’t as brutally realistic as Stanley is, but she’s also not as ingrained in delusions as Blanche. And yet, she does have delusions of her own. Deep down, she seems to know the truth about the kind of person Stanley is, and that she should leave him, but she tells herself that he isn’t that bad, and that he loves her, so she stays. She knows that Blanche is never quite telling the truth, but she refuses to believe scandalous stories about her. She is caught between her husband and her sister, and it is inevitable that she will eventually have to choose one or the either. And choose she does. When Stanley rapes Blanche, Stella believes Stanley. It’s not that she does not believe Blanche, it’s that she doesn’t want to.

“I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley.”

Stella chooses not to believe Blanche’s terrible story, in order to go on living in relative happiness with Stanley. This is obviously horrible, but one has to remember that for Stella, it’s the only way to go on. She has a new baby to worry about and Stanley has the means to provide for them. In the end, Stella doesn’t actually choose either Stanley or Blanche; she chooses her baby and she chooses herself.

5 thoughts on “Stella For Star

  1. I absolutely agree with your assessment that Stella is often considered to be a less important part of the story. I wish that we were given more information about Stella and what she was thinking about all of this! Your statement about Stella representing the middle-ground is spot-on, and her choosing to continue living with Stanley is an unfortunate, abusive reality that many women have to face (even today, but especially in the time this play was written).

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  2. I love how you put the spotlight onto Stella! Unfortunately, it is very true that most women in abusive relationships have to stay with their partner for economical reasons. I also like how you showed how dependent Stella is on Stanley. Great job!

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  3. I really loved your discussion about the socioeconomic tensions amongst Stella, Stanley, and Blanche, and especially your insight regarding Stella’s empathy. I think you analyzed Stella beautifully, and I have a deeper appreciation for her character. Very well done!

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  4. I loved how you chose to focus on Stella, and how she really is the middle-man of the story. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama that is Blanche and Stanley, but hard to see Stella in the midst of everything even though she is the reason for their combat. I also loved the quote you used from the play, it really does finalize her decision to stay with Stanley. You did a lovely job on this, well done.

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  5. It is great that someone decided to focus on Stella. It did not even cross my mind to do that! I think it is great how you pointed out that Stella had lived in both worlds and could see the different views. Cool blog!

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