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A Streetcar Named Desire: Stella By: Isaac Breedlove
Stella is "a gentle young woman, about twenty-five," (Williams, 14) who is a part of an unequal relationship with her husband, Stanley.
"Because it is nearly two-thirty. Couldn't you call it quits after one more hand?" "That's not fun, Stanley." "It makes me so mad when he does that in front of people." (Williams, 48)
[Blanche crosses into the bedroom and partially closes the portieres] [A chair scrapes. Stanley gives a loud whack of his hand on her thigh.] [The men laugh. Stella goes Into the bedroom.](Williams 48)
In this series of events, Stanley clearly exhibits his masculinity by showing his dominance over Stella. The way that Stanley hits his wife in front of ll his friends and finds it funny highlights his brute animalistic behavior. While this does upset Stella, her and Stanley both know that she can't retaliate in any way because something worse than a smack may occur. This relates to how women are treated as inferior in society.
"What do you two think you are? A pair of queens? Remember what Huey Long said- 'Every Man is a King!' And I am the king around here, so don't forget it!" (Williams, 107)
This quote by Stanley makes a strong statement about gender in the play by emphasizing Stella's role in the house. Before Blanche shows up in their lives, Stella's role in their house is the peaceful homemaker who takes care of Stanley and is supposed to respect him always. In this quote, Stanley shows that he expects to be the dominant one in the relationship and will not take any insubordination from his wife. In this scene, Stella was nagging on Stanley due to the encouragement of her sister and this made Stanley extremely aggressive and angry. By attempting to prove his alpha-male role in the house, Stanley effectively portrays Stella's role as the doting housewife who should never do anything to displease her husband. These words by Stanley make a strong statement about the role of women in that society and in their household. Stella is expected to stay quiet and loving, and never question or offend Stanley.
Williams effectively uses Stella and Stanley to depict a typical male dominant relationship in society. Whether it is Stanley pronouncing that he is king in their relationship, or Stella describing the hurt she feels when he is away, Williams makes it very clear that Stanley is in control. Stella’s role is solely to be a housewife and be there for Stanley; however, Stanley has the freedom to do whatever he wants.
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