A Streetcar Named Desire is an interesting title of a book where the lives of the characters aren’t very desirable.
Manipulation is a theme seen within the play. Both from Stanley’s doing, as well as Blanche’s actions in the house.
Another theme is abuse: Stella is an abused house wife, who is pregnant, and latter has her son. (no real mention of a son other than mentioning that the infant was wrapped in a blue blanket). I knew that Stella’s situation wasn’t ideal, however had a hard time determining when it was ‘normal’ for a husband in those times to feel the ‘power’ of the title Man of the House, and when there was a crossing the line point. There seemed to be a fuzzy point because at times Stella herself was in denial, and wouldn’t acknowledge a problem.
Stanley was abusive, verbally, physically, and mentally. Telling Stella, basically, that her sister is nothing but a no good liar.
It wasn’t though until Stanley finally gets Stella to ‘choose a side’ him or her sister, and then she chooses him. There is evidence in the dialogue that Stella truly struggles with sending her sister away. She isn’t doing this because she wants to, rather because she is in a way being forced to. That is when I picked up on the fact that Stanley would probably not change.
I know that many may be reading, and thinking, well… duh the first time that he hit her and she had to stay at Eunice’s should have been reason enough for her to leave Stanley. Well, call me a huge optimist, or even GULLIBLE, but when she came back to him, and he hugged her and took care of her I honestly believed that he was sorry, and would make an effort to control his anger. Plus in argument of Stanley, he was under the influence of alcohol, thus not in his best state of mind. As mentioned before it wasn’t until later that I concluded that there was going to be more than just one incident. Rather between the mental abuse, verbal abuse, and physical there was enough to be able to make a case that Stella is or was a battered wife.
So, when is the breaking point of Stella getting out of such an abusive home? At what point would it have been ideal to leave him? Was the home abusive, or was the household the traditional household in the mid-twentieth century? Is there even a need for concern, is it more of the manipulation and abuse from Blanche?
These are just some random thoughts…