A Streetcar Named Desire
Based on the evidence in scenes 1-5 (inclusive) of Streetcar, explore the relationship between Stella and Stanley.


The couple met at some time when he was still in the army or some such thing. We are not told exactly where or when they met, but we know that he was in uniform when they first met, because of Blanche’s rather disgusted speech.


Blanche: I understand how it happened-a little. You saw him in uniform, an officer, not here but-


As we can see, Stella was probably overwhelmed by Stanley’s rough, animal allure, which she probably hadn’t seen before, and saw it as a change from the rich, refined, snobs she was used to back at Belle Reve. She may also have seen him as someone she could have to stand by her, and bring in the money for her, so she could have a normal happy family with a man she could look up to and have him give her support. Not that we see much of that, but that is probably the way Stella sees her relationship with Stanley.


On Stanley’s side, although we are not told, I assume that Stella is pretty, as Blanche seems rather jealous of her. Also, I doubt very much that Stanley could have a less than stunning wife, as it would not suit his standards, plus he probably saw a vulnerability in her that many men like, not to mention that her dialogue was probably much better than his, so he may have seen a chance of making some money for himself, but that’s just a theory as we are not told anything about how Stanley feels for Stella. I am going on what sort of man Stanley really is.


Stanley is the sort of man who is very proud of everything he’s made, bought and achieved, so it is rather strange to see him throw out his radio when Blanche aggravates him. We also see that he does not like to lose, although it may just have been the fact that he was drunk and had become more impulsive when doing so. In both these things, we see that he is very materialistic and does not like to be wrong and, if he’s unsure of something, he always has a friend who can check that for him, just to make you feel uncomfortable enough maybe not to lie, just in case he does have a friend who can. In character Stanley is the opposite of Stella in his aggressive, outlandish and comically male behaviour. We see this whilst they play their card game and Stanley gets aggravated


Stanley: Nothing belongs on the table but cards, chips, and whisky. [He lurches up and tosses some watermelon rinds to the floor.]


This also shows certain disrespect for Stella, as he has no intention whatsoever of picking up the pieces of watermelon rind, and probably does not see why he should, as it is his house and Stella, being his wife, should not think anything of it. Another of his animal traits is that, once he’s done with his food, he simply throws it away, much as a pig would do with its leftovers.


Stella, as far as we can see, is non-materialistic and really does not see why Blanche has such a problem with where she’s living, probably as she may have thought that it is better than not living anywhere as her sister is doing. She also has no scruples about giving what little money she has to her sister


Stella [crossing to bureau]: Stanley doesn’t give me a regular allowance, he likes to pay the bills himself, but-this morning he gave me ten dollars to smooth things over. You take five of it, Blanche, and I’ll keep the rest.


Throughout the play we see Stella as a very giving, loving person who sees her husband’s eccentric behaviour as exciting, rather and than shocking or disturbing and brutal, as Blanche does;


Stella: He smashed all the light bulbs with the heel of my slipper! [She laughs.]


Blanche: and you-you let him? Didn’t run, didn’t scream?


Stella: I was- sort of – thrilled by it.


This sort of behaviour is exactly the way Stanley would have wanted it to be received.


Stanley expects a lot from Stella although