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Page created by Debbie Calderon, Jesus Hernandez, Shadise Mosley, and Cindy Ruberto

Character Depiction


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Stanley
Stanley is about twenty-eight or thirty years old, usually dressed in blue denim work clothes. He is very muscular which helps to show his personality, very controlling. From the very beginning we get a sense of his character; very masculine and aggressive. Stanley’s life changes when Blanche visits her sister Stella after her plantation was lost. When she comes in the picture, we see him fighting for Stella’s love and affection. He is no longer able to love Stella the way he usually does, by sex.
Stanley is your typical “bad boy,” he is honest, blunt, and very dominant. Sex is important to him along with drinking and playing poker with his friends.In Stella’s and Stanley’s household he is incharge, it is expected that his wife pleases his every needs. When Blanche interferes during a poker game, his violent side comes out when he throws the radio out the window and hits his wife.
Even when it comes to his friends he feels superior to them and he acts like the usual “tough boy.” Stella and Stanley fight a lot, but somehow sex always seems to be the solution; they are very passionate. When Blanche comes to visit he isn’t able to show his love for his wife. Every “bad boy” has a good side and sometimes good intentions, in scene three we see him change from a very controlling husband to a loving one when he says “My baby doll’s left me!” he cries.

Strength: Realistic and Truthful
Weakness: Self-control

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Stella Kowalski
Stella is the wife of Stanley Kowalski and younger sister to Blanche Dubois. She moved away from the aristocratic lifestyle she grew up with in Laurel to a lower-class neighborhood in New Orleans. She is completely head over heels about Stanley, but they have a rocky relationship that only has two settings: passionate and aggressive. The fights between Stella and Stanley always get resolved when the two kiss and make up, which shows how much of their relationship is based off of physical attraction and sex.

When Blanche arrives, Stella waits on her hand and foot to make sure that she feels at home during her stay. She completely loves her sister and stands by her at all times. Her loyalty to Blanche forces Stella to turn a blind eye to the truth behind the accusations that Stanley makes later on in the play. Her loyalty is shown in Scene 2 when Stanley accuses Blanche of selling the Belle Reve for cash to spend on clothes, furs and jewelry. Stella says “[...]you don’t know how ridiculous you are being when you suggest that my sister [...] could have perpetrated a swindle on anyone else.”

Stella’s strongest point would be her loyalty to her loved ones, but her downfall would be her naivety. She is truly caring and passionate about those who she loves. Her problem is that she loves too much and doesn’t speak out against wrongdoings, such as the beatings she gets from Stanley and the way Blanche constantly speaks against Stanley. She sits idly and accepts what she gets simply because she loves them.

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Blanche Dubois
Blanche Dubois, is the aloof sister of Stella Dubois, who comes to stay with Stella after losing their family’s property “Belle Reeve” in Laurel, Mississippi. Throughout the story Blanche is established a perpetual liar whose ways are merely a result of an unfortunate life. In Scene One Blanche acts as though she had taken a “leave of absence” from her job as a high school English teacher, and thus decided to visit he sister; However Stanley- Stella’s husband, discovers that Blanche was actually exiled from her former town due to allegations her having a sexual relationship with one of her seventeen year old students.
The most traumatic event in the story is when Blanche is raped by Stanley, while his wife is in the hospital giving birth to his first child. By this point, Blanche has told so many lies that Stella does not believe her when she tries to tell her what Stanley has done. Instead, Stella reacts by secretly enrolling Blanche into a mental asylum. Blanche- under the impression that one of her suitors is coming to rescue her is surprised when confronted with a doctor to take her away instead. Her last words are “Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”-despite her lies, Blanche deserved better treatment by those around her, yet instead she became a victim of those who she depended on.

The strengths of Blanche’s character is that she is very intelligent and well spoken, and often uses the art of language to get out of sticky situations. The downfall of Blanche’s character is her need of acceptance- as a result she goes to great lengths to make people believe lies that she think will make her more interesting and likeable when instead people just see her as anxious and crazed.
Themes: Loneliness

Apart from her sister, Blanche is alone in the world. She longs for a deep connection with others but her lousy attempt to find love through sexual affairs only makes her situation worse. The attraction she feels toward very young men is an attempt to reproduce the one magical, fulfilling thing Blanche had found in life—her love for her young husband. The more desperate Blanche becomes in her loneliness, the more deeply she digs herself into it.

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Harold “Mitch” Mitchell
Mitch is one of Stanley's three friends. He is like the rest of the men in the story in many ways. He is at the peak of his physical manhood. He is tall, sturdy, coarse, and simple. However he has a far less animalistic drive, and shows far more sincerity than the rest of the men portrayed. He is neither crude nor lustful and openly shares his affection for those he cares about. One of them being his mother. Mitch is portrayed as clumsy, sweaty, and awkward however his most notable trait is his sincerity and morality. Which inhibit his desire for Blanche towards the end of the story after realizing she’s been deceiving him about her past.

Mitch- “She wants me to be settled down before she-[His voice is hoarse and he clears his throat twice, shuffling nervously around with his hands in and out of his pockets.]”

Mitch is significant to the story's plot because he serves as a foil to Stanley. He is his male counterpart in that his desire and instinct does not reflect his desire for sex, alcohol, or dominance. Mitch progresses the plot of the story for his interaction with Miss Blanche Dubois serves as a catalyst for her moral degradation and ultimate instability. For Mitch represents Blanche last hope for happiness in a world of unlucky mishaps.

Themes

Theme: Power

“Let me enlighten you on a point or two, baby.” (Scene 2, pg 34)

From the beginning there is a sense of control and power coming from Stanley, Stella’s husband. It’s always his word over her word, she could say anything she wants, but at the end Stanley makes the choice. He is able to go bowling and drink with his friends meanwhile his wife has to stay home and do housework. In scene one we encounter his male dominance in society when he throws a packet of meat to his wife. Stanley believes that he automatically deserves his wife’s respect and devotion without having to work for it because he is a man. Williams shows Stanley’s power through the game of poker, “Nothing belongs on a poker table but cards, chips, and whisky.” He also shows his dominance over Stella by abusing his position of being a man and his physical strength. Stella shows the stereotypical subservient woman, she rarely makes a decision for herself. Stanley shows his power through his wife and also his friends, he doesn’t care who you are, he will treat you the way he wants. Mitch being the other male character is different towards women, and treats them highly. He considers their feelings, tries to treat them right, and be genuinely truthful. Stanley is nothing like Mitch, he is more aggressive and doesn’t care about feelings.

Theme : Deception & Reality vs. Fantasy
A significant theme that was shown throughout A Streetcar Named Desire was deception and the battle between reality and fantasy. It was reflected most through Blanche’s past, actions and dialogue. Blanche constantly obscures her true age: she avoids any bright or harsh lighting and constantly worries about her appearance. When confronted about her compulsive lying, she weaves stories full of extravagant details, which turn out to be even more lies. Her past comes out to haunt her when Stanley digs up dirt on her not-so-squeaky-clean life in Laurel, filled with all of the stories of her promiscuity after her husband’s suicide.


Themes: Loneliness
Apart from her sister, Blanche is alone in the world. She longs for a deep connection with others but her lousy attempt to find love through sexual affairs only makes her situation worse. The attraction she feels toward very young men is an attempt to reproduce the one magical, fulfilling thing Blanche had found in life—her love for her young husband. The more desperate Blanche becomes in her loneliness, the more deeply she digs herself into it.


Theme: Social Class
One of the major themes in the story is the strife among social classes. The stigma that accompanies the lower class is presented through the voice and actions of Blanche towards Stanley. As is the contempt amongst the poor for the rich. The Dubois come from aristocratic ancestry being that their ancestors were French Huguenots Blanche is instilled with the notion of superiority, and separatism, having been grown “up under very different circumstances than [Stanley] did”. Stating that her “improvident grandfathers and father and uncles and brothers exchanged the land for their epic fornications” when referring to Belle Reve, a status of her pride. While Stanley a descendant of poor polish background seems to identify with his Americana roots, claiming to be only “one hundred percent American”, he is as part of a homogenous movement of American culture. Born and raised under post world war 2 setting, he feels he has an upper hand on his quaint French sister in law. No two ideals are perfect; however their mindset is atypical to our modern form of thinking. We tend to congregate in masses forming standards and prejudices on those who do not fit our social quotas of American culture or prominent French ancestry. This is one of the reasons why tension arose and ego’s collided between both characters.

Vocabulary

Powder keg(p63) Used metaphorically; violent outburst
“He was as good as a lamb” (p63) Well behaved, innocent
“ Spouting gold in his pockets” (p67) Becoming rich, getting more money
“There’s something downright bestial about him” (p7) Referring to Stanley, he is a beast
Brutes (p72) A savagely violent person or animal
“You ain’t pulling the wool over my eyes” (p74) To blind and deceive
Rutting hunk (p76) Physically and attractive man
Quaint (p76) Attractively unusual or old-fashioned
Morbid (p79) Appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects
Owl car (p85) It’s a train
“Joie de vivre” (p88) “Joy of living”
Bromo (p69) An antacid and pain reliever

Uncavalier (pg 113) - opposite of being a gentleman;
Uncouth (pg 113) - awkward, clumsy, strange
Amiably (pg 123) - friendly; sociable
Lurid (pg 128) - gruesome; terrible in intensity
Inert (pg 130) - having no inherent power of action, motion or resistance
Sinuously (pg 128) - having many curves, bends and turns; indirect
"It came like a bolt from the blue!" (Pg 123) - a surprise like a lightening bolt from a clear sky
"red letter night" (pg 125) - a night of significance or importance; usually used as “red letter day”
Malarkey (pg 117) - speech or writing to obscure, mislead, or impress;
Recriminations (pg 119) - accusations against an accuser; a countercharge
vivacity (page 18): attractively lively and animated. (adj)
implicit (page 29): implied though not plainly expressed (adj)
unrefined (page 31):not processed to remove impurities or unwanted elements.(adj)
swindled (page 35):use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions (v)
cordially (page 37): courteous; gracious. (adj)
treachery (page 41): betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature. (n)
peruse (page 43): read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way.(v)
portieres (page 52):a curtain hung over a door or doorway. (v)
Huguenots (page 55): a French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries. Largely Calvinist, the Huguenots suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Catholic majority, and many thousands emigrated from France. (n)
dissonant (page 59): lack of harmony among musical notes.(n)

Contemptible (pg 99)-deserving contempt; despicable.
Degenerate (pg 101)-lacking some property, order, or distinctness of structure previously or usually present, in particular
Sullen (pg 102)-bad-tempered and sulky; gloomy.
Beau (pg 103)-a rich, fashionable young man; a dandy. Male admirer
Repertoire (pg 105)-a stock of plays, dances, or pieces that a company or a performer knows or is prepared to perform.
Ineffectual (101)-not producing any or the desired effect.
Tumbler (pg 100)-a drinking glass with straight sides and no handle or stem.
Amiability (107)-the quality of having a friendly and pleasant manner; geniality.
Saccharine (pg 98)-excessively sweet or sentimental.
Blithely-happy and carefree
“Lili-white fingers” (pg 99)-Beyond reproach; blameless.

Scene Description

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Blanche has become part of Stella’s and Stanley’s household, she has witnessed much of what goes down. At the end of scene three Stanley smacks Stella, she got mad, but what made her angrier was that he did it in public. In the beginning of scene four Blanche doesn’t seem to understand how Stella is fine with what happened the night before. Blanche says, “All right, Stella. I will repeat the question quietly now. How could you come back in this place last night? Why, you must have slept with him!” Stella doesn’t realize that Stanley has crossed the line and that her sister is trying to lead her in the right direction. Stella tells Blanche, “He didn’t know what he was doing… He was as good as a lamb when I came back and he’s really very, very ashamed of himself.” She tries to defend him and make him seem like the “good guy,” but we all know that he isn’t a good husband. This also shows that Stella is being controlled by Stanley, she obeys him in every aspect. Blanche tries to convince Stella to leave Stanley, but she seems happy the way she is being treated. She really wants to help her get away from Stanley, she thinks Stella is suffering. Blanche tells her “ I have a plan for us both, to get us both-out!” Blanche tries to convince Stella that Stanley is not a good man, that there is something “bestial” about him.

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The play reaches its final “oh-my-god!” moment in Scene 10. The scene opens with a very drunk Blanche, dressed in her fanciest clothes whilst speaking to imaginary suitors. Stanley arrives home from the hospital where he left Stella in labor, quite drunk himself after celebrating the birth of his first child. The two are home alone, and things quickly escalate from peace into a confrontation. Stanley catches Blanche slipping up on a lie he knew she was telling, and called her out on it immediately. When Blanche tries to defend herself, Stanley’s short temper snaps and he becomes aggressive. The two get into a physical altercation, ultimately leading to an implied rape.

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In scene 5, occurs one of the more unsettling events in the play, when Stella imposes a kiss on the lips of the teenage mail boy. In this scene, the mail boy is delivering mail to Stella’s building; Stella see the boy and beings to flirt with him, and talk about the weather. As the boy is walking away she tells him to return to her so she can give him a kiss on the lips. After doing so she lets the boy go. This scene solidifies that the allegations of her involvement with the teenage boy in her old town, is true. It also exposes the deeper issue that she still resonates on the death of her former husband (a teenager) and thus she finds them attractive, despite her being far too old for them.

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Scene seven: Stanley and Stella are discussing Blanches lies and her past, while unbeknownst to her, she’s been exposed and the reality of her past actions have caught on. The scene takes place on Blanche’s birthday, the table is set and cake and flowers fill the air. In this scene Stanley divulges information about what occurred after Belle Reve slipped away from Blanche. Claiming she moved to the Flamingo, a second class hotel of “all kinds of goings” and due to actions of her own had to retreat to her sisters dwelling. This discussion is a point of realization in which Stella realizes Blanche deliberately lied, distorted the truth, and invented a false reality to salvage her reputation. One was her past was unadulterated, and still a testament of her glorious origins. Although it’s albeit from the truth, Blanche involved herself in promiscuous activities, proving to be nothing but a fool, and phony,

Quote

Blanche to Stella:
“He acts like an animal, has an animal’s habits! Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There’s even something-subhuman-something not quite to the stage of humanity yet! Yes something-ape-like about him, like one of those pictures I’ve seen.” (Scene 4, p72)
Blanche feels like Stella is trapped and that she needs to get out of, Stella doesn’t seem to get it. She rants to stella about Stanley’s ape-like features, meanwhile he is walking in to the apartment. Blanche tries to explain to Stella how she doesn’t understand how a woman from Belle Reve could live with a man like Stanley. Stella tells her “things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark” make everything right. She basically means that the sex and passion they have for each other is what keeps the relationship going and therefore she is able to deal with his behavior. It’s almost like Stella knows what is happening, but she doesn’t want to accept it because she knows that she won’t benefit from it.

Scene 9, page 117
Blanche : “ I don’t want realism. I want magic! [Mitch laughs] Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it! -Don’t turn the light on!”
This quote reflects Blanche’s true self as she admits to her compulsive lying. She spends a majority of the play hiding the truth about her life from everyone around her. Each story she tells bursts at the seams with fictitious details as she attempts to make herself seem more important or better off than those living in Elysian Fields. This quote shows that she felt as if it were her duty to trade the boring reality in day to day life for fabulous fibs about the life of a southern belle. Throughout the course of her compulsive lying, the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred, and Blanche loses everything she cared about: her budding romance with Mitch, the trust of her sister and her sanity. Her lies get her no where. Instead of going to Shep Huntleigh’s mansion on a luxurious extended visit, Blanche ends up on her way to a mental facility.

Stanley Kowalski to Stella DuBois:
“Now that's how I'm gonna clear the table. Don't you ever talk that way to me. 'Pig,' 'Pollack,' 'disgusting,' 'vulgar,' 'greasy.' Those kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister's tongue just too much around here. What do you think you are? A pair of queens? Now just remember what Huey Long said - that every man's a king - and I'm the King around here, and don't you forget.”
In this quote we truly see Stanley’s disrespect for women, as he throws his plate on the floor as a reaction to Stella calling him “greasy.” We also see that he feels as though the sisters think they are in some way better than he is. He makes this a big deal out of Stella’s comment to ensure that he is not made feel less in his own home, however he does so in a very immature and violent manner.

Stanley: “When we first met, me and you, you thought I was common. How right you were, baby. I was common as dirt. You showed me the snapshot of the place with the columns. I pulled you down off them columns and how you loved it, having them colored lights going!”

Stanley’s words reflect his very insecure mindset which is as a result of his impoverished upbringing having fostered his ideals on life. He feels that you do not necessarily need the best things in life to be happy, and it’s a beautiful concept that equates being nothing more but the wife of a “commoner” but feels that Stella must relinquish her past. Stanley is as common as dirt, which is why he feels that he must make everyone else feel the same. One reason why he resorts to physical violence and harsh words to level the playing field.

Social Aspect

Throughout the story we see the harsh treatment Stanley gives Stella which she decides to not act on. Everyone around her sees what is happening, especially her sister Blanche who had first hand experience. Stella is an example of domestic violence, she doesn’t really have a voice, she decides to go along with the flow of things. In this time period there isn’t much that can be done, especially because Stanley is a man and a husband and has authority over Stella. She has become so used to this treatment that it has become normal to her, in fact this is unhealthy to both in a relationship. In general, people who suffer from domestic abuse don’t know what to do and feel like they have to deal with it. They also think that it’s their fault, they try to take blame for what is happening, and they belittle themselves making the other person feel superior. Most times people don’t speak up and makes people like Stanley think that it’s fine to treat someone in that manner.

A social concern from A Streetcar Named Desire is the repetition of domestic violence and the imbalance in male/female relationships. Stanley and Stella are known to have a troubled yet passionate marriage. Stella constantly takes physical and verbal abuse from Stanley, but then shrugs it off because it is a normal occurrence in her life. Eunice and Pablo also get into fights, but then kiss and makeup as if nothing happened. In America, the inequality between men and women had always been evident. The males always tend to have an upper hand in their relationships because they are believed to wear the “pants”, using this to their advantage to throw fits and lose their temper whenever something doesn't go their way. The females are almost viewed as objects; delicate things that should be pretty but can be tossed around if they need to be taught a lesson. Since domestic violence was such a normal thing in the earlier part of the 1900’s, it was taboo to leave your significant other after they abused you.
Today, domestic violence is still an issue. Some men still feel the need to compensate for their lack of self confidence by beating the woman they claim that they love. Women may have gained more rights, but it’ll be a long way to go before they are truly equal to men in all aspects.

In the play one of the most horrific events that take place is when Stanley rapes his sister in law-Blanche, not only violating her body, but stripping her of the little control she did possess over troubled life. in today’s culture, rape is often seen as the victim’s fault, saying that these people were asking to be raped; this is the case especially if the victim is a woman, which the majority of the time it is. This is what one considers to be rape culture, which is an environment in which common behaviors normalize or even condone rape. In my opinion, this idea also applies to the rape in the play; being that Blanche presented herself in a way that was teas to the opposite sex.

What it means to be American, is it the food we eat, the colour of our skin, or our background, no. The single underlying thing which we can all attribute to being American is our tolerability. we are neither wrong nor right to say that we are the best country in the world, in a wager Americans would say America, however if you ask a Brit, then they'd probably say America too. Bravado, machismo, bigotry, and insecurities placate our country. However we are multicultural in many aspects of our society. We are comprised of a plethora of backgrounds from Polish-Americans, Mexican, African-American, and French. All these individuals involved in the scene make an environment willing and unwilling to cooperate. justifying a cause for civil equality that broadens into understanding for all men and women, regardless of color, origin, or religion . America’s progressiveness lays the foundation for the idea that we are the best, and proud of it. Justifying our intervention in world affairs, and meddling but all for upholding the way of life we all hold dear.

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