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Streetcar Named Desire - Essay Example

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Summary
The movie has been adopted from a 1947 play of same name penned by Tennessee Willaims. Blanche and Stella were two major characters of the movie and the story revolves around the…
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Streetcar Named Desire
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Source of Tension between relationship of Blanche and Stella in A Streetcar d Desire The romantic drama movie A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Elia Kazan was released in 1951. The movie has been adopted from a 1947 play of same name penned by Tennessee Willaims. Blanche and Stella were two major characters of the movie and the story revolves around the tension between the relationships of these two. Since Stanley, Blanche and Stella, who was Stanley’s wife, lived in the same house there were bound to be conflicts as they had different backgrounds.
The characteristics of Stanley and Blanche were poles apart. Blanche belonged to an aristocrat family and enjoyed the pleasures of being an upper-class, whereas Stanley was a rude man who didn’t receive any education. He led life his own way. He was a man who was keen to protect his sexual relationship with his wife and this is one of the reasons why Blanche thought it was important for her to protect her sister from his violent acts.
There was sexual tension between Blanche and Stanley from the moment they first meet. In one scene Stella is out of the picture (in the bathroom washing her face) the first time Blanche encounters Stanley. They’re alone together. He takes off his shirt on the grounds that he wants to be “comfortable.” While Blanche pretends to be ok with this, we know later that such informalities in fact make her feel uncomfortable. In another scene when Stanley rifles through the personal things in Blanche’s trunk, it’s as though he’s violating her as well. The big “Stelll-ahhhhh!!!” scene is as much about Blanche’s discomfort with Stanley’s destructive sexuality as it is fear for her sister. She’s horrified that Stella goes back downstairs in order to make love with Stanley. She even tried to persuade Stella but she chose brutish love over a better life. Her love for Stanley gave him the advantage over his enemy.
Blanches jealousy is also quite noticeable in many scenes. Since she is dealing with the loss of her husband, Belle Reve, she envies her sister’s happiness and protection and how she has sexual freedom. In Scene Four Blanche says: “What such a man has to offer is animal force. But the only way to live with such a man is to go to bed with him! And that’s your job not mine!” It seems unfeasible for Blanche to relate a man in a non-sexual way, even those men who would be considered inappropriate for her i.e. her brother-in-law, Stanley.
Even so, she was always quite eager to get a hold of Stanley’s attention and receive compliments about her physical appearance from him. After their first argument in Scene Two, she tells Stella: “I called him a little boy and laughed and flirted. Yes, I was flirting with your husband!” Blanche also wanted to show her politeness towards him but Stanley would refuse her good intention. For example, at the poker night, when she showed her kindness to Stanleys friends, and tried to adjust in the environment, Stanley discouraged it.
Another thing that led to Stanley-Blanche conflicts was selfish thoughts. Stella plays an important role here. When Stanley hit Stella infuriatingly, Blanche tried to persuade her to leave Stanley and her horrid home. On the other hand, Stanley used to trouble Blanche by reminding her of her painful memories which she tried hard to forget. Stanley also kept telling Stella what a horrible person her sister is. Stanley had won Stella’s heart which is why she believed anything wrong he said, even regarding her sister. Stanley also passes illicit information about Blanche’s sexual past to Mitch, who had been meaning to marry her. When he learns the truth, he loses all interest in her. After that Blanche starts talking delusional which reassures everyone that she has lost her mind.
Stella has Stanley’s baby and they host a poker party. Stanley arranges for a doctor to come and take Blanche away to the asylum. Blanche initially struggles against them, as she was under the false impression that she was going on a vacation. The doctor is gentle and persuades her to go with him. They both walk out of the house. Stella cries to see her sister leave but believes it is for the better, while Stanley is content that life will now finally go back to normal, now that Blanche is gone. In sum, the inferiority complex of Blanche and the sexual relationship of Stella and Stanley were the major source of tension between them.
References
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Director: Elia Kazan. US: Warner Bros. Read More
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