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Laura Amy Schlitz

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4. Meet the Cast: Stella and Stanley and Blanche and Mitch

A Streetcar Named Desire's Blanche DuBois and Lady Macbeth have something in commonIf you remember one thing about the characters in A Streetcar Named Desire, remember this: The characters in this cast are set in opposition to each other. They’re divided and ready for combat.

There’s Blanche DuBois, a faded Southern Belle who’s lost it all–her husband, her family’s estate, and her job as a high school English teacher.  There’s Harold “Mitch” Mitchell, who woos Blanche until he finds out she lied to him about her promiscuous history with exploitative men.

There’s Stanley Kowalski, Mitch’s army buddy, the loud-mouth brute who seeks to demolish Blanche’s delusions of social grandeur. And when Stanley becomes annoyed by Blanche’s burgeoning relationship with Mitch, he beats his wife, Stella, who also happens to be Blanche’s little sister.

And let’s not forget Eunice, Stella’s landlady, upstairs neighbor, and low-class confidant. It’s Eunice’s questions that send Blanche looking to escape in a bottle of whiskey. It’s Eunice’s apartment to which Blanche and Stella run when they try to escape Stanley’s violent temper. It’s outside of Eunice’s apartment that Stanley cries–“Stella!”–for his battered wife’s forgiveness. And after Stanley rapes Blanche? It’s Eunice who persuades Stella to accept Stanley’s hollow claims of innocence and turn her back on her troublesome sister.

What a cast of characters.


A Streetcar Named Desire Hattie Big Sky 60second Book Review

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Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

In A Streetcar Named Desire, the guys and the girls are worlds apart. Let’s divide and conquer this totally divided cast—next.

The ladies: Blanche and Stella. Think of these words when you think of them: Helpless, dependent, vulnerable, exploited.

Blanche is the main character, and even though she pretends to be in control, it’s clear from the beginning that she’s completely helpless. Not only has she lost all her money, she’s also quickly losing her beauty—and her mind. She seeks out men for stability and self-gratification, but ultimately, all they do is drive her to madness.

Stella is Blanche’s sister who has an unhealthy relationship with her husband, Stanley. Their main attraction is clearly sexual, and alternates between passion and abuse. Stella is also completely financially dependent on Stanley.

The men: Stanley and Mitch. Think of these words when you think of them: Powerful, dominating, violent, over-sexed.

Stanley is Stella’s husband and a man who’s used to getting what he wants. Not only does he abuse his wife—knocking her around, even when she’s pregnant—he also ends up raping Blanche. And Mitch is Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s boyfriend. At first, it seems that Mitch has a sensitive side, but when he finds out that Blanche has been deceiving him, he also resorts to violence.


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