Stella Kowalski is a housewife who is married to Stanley Kowalski in which she abandons her previous substantially better life for her love. She is also the younger sibling of Blanche DuBois who has a very opposite character to her. Her home is set in New Orleans which is vastly different in comparison to her previous home in rural Belle Reve, in both size, but also the type of environment she resides in. Her new life involves dependency on Stanley as the man of the house, but also having to adjust to the diminished economic & social way of life. Despite these circumstances, she appears to have discovered joy & to be very pleased with her new way of life.
Prompt: How does playwright Tennessee Williams use Stella’s actions, descriptions, or words to make a strong statement about gender in out society?
This scene shows the finale of the play where Blanche is given into the hands of a doctor because she is considered psychotic. Stella is not only upset with Stanley since it was his decision, but with herself because she knows it is partly her fault.
“What have I done to my sister? Oh, God, what have I done to my sister?”
Stanley insisted on Blanche's behavior needing to be treated when in reality, he was the one committing barbaric and psychotic behavior. Based on the stage directions, he clearly commit some form of sexual violence towards Blanche but Stella chooses to be with the man that can seemingly take care of their family due to gender stereotypes and the fear of losing the person you are dependent upon
The scene comments on gender by showing how much Stella is willing to sacrifice to be with Stanley. By giving up her own sister, Blanche, Stella shows the audience her dependence on Stanley, regardless of his brute and abusive behavior.
This scene is when Stanley calls for Stella back after he beats her. Eunice keeps turning him away but Stella ultimately gives in and goes back to Stanley.
Quit that hollerin! She ain't comin down!
This scene comments on gender by showing the obedience of Stella and her loyalty to Stanley. During the whole play, Stella is the typical housewife that was expected of every girl during this time.
No matter what happened, she was expected to stick with her husband throughout everything and be obedient. Her actions here and how she didn't take much time at all to return to Stanley comments on this expected behavior of the typical housewife and their duties to the husband.
Stella represent the lives of women who suffer physical abuse in both the past and present. Her role as a female depicts very well the life of her gender during the mid 20th century and before. She is loyal to her husband despite the physical abuse she suffers because of Stanley. She takes care of her home and new child while Stanley is left to provide for the family. Her voice has no meaning and whenever she tries to counterattack the words of Stanley, she only hurts herself more. She has to pick between Stanley or Blanche, but her fear of being single and losing her quality of life is greater than her attachment to her sister. Marriage is one of the key topics in this book because Stella loyalty is impressive and how it is expected in many traditions. This concept of marriage was how it was accepted in society during this time which is why Blanche struggled to find a new partner and was close to finding one with Mitch until he discovered her past. Stella knew that if she lost Stanley, her life could follow the same path as Blanche and even worse because she would be a single mother.