Run or Stay: a Streetcar Named Desire

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Situations that may be difficult to one person may not compare to the mindset of another. Circumstances and environment shape the background of the character and how they decide what direction will lead them to their desires. The two sisters Blanche and Stella, in A Streetcar Named Desire, chose contrasting paths after their childhood in Belle Reve, Mississippi. Blanche stayed at their family estate while Stella decided to leave and move to New Orleans. After each made their decisions they reap the consequences during the play.

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Stella has married a low-class brute and carries his child, while Blanche never ends the chase of a Southern gentleman to sweep her away before her beauty fades. The choices made by each sister of the south allow the contention of how leaving or staying undermined what was best for the mentality of their person and family responsibility.

Each sister was living to see through rose-colored glasses. Stella was thrilled by her husband Stanley’s animal-like behavior and couldn’t see the abuse she was enduring. The choice to leave Belle Reve the family responsibility that came with it was made by Stella because she didn’t want to feel trapped in the societal expectations of her Southern heritage. When Blanche arrived at the Kowalski home, Stella could not empathize with her sister and see how she herself maintained some of the same traits Blanche exhibited in the way she had her own delusion in her marriage. Stella left to escape her past life only to trap herself in a new one with Stanley. Her mentality shifted to be a weak pushover for her husband when the time came to choose between her sister and him. She didn’t believe her sister’s accusations of Stanley raping her, because she couldn’t. He was the father of her child, and the relationship with her sister became too estranged to encourage the bravery to stand up for her blood. “I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley.” is how Stella justifies her choice and her survival to stay with Stanley. While she may weep for her sister and her lost sanity, Stella does not decide to leave her home and responsibility of her new family but stay as opposed to her past of taking off from Belle Reve. She decides to avoid the dealings of reality because of her instinct to endure.

The tragedy of your fantasy slipping through your fingers no matter how hard you try to manage a grip is what led to the compromising sanity of Blanche. Unlike her sister, Blanche was more open in her fleeing from reality in the pursuit of her dreams. Blanche was adamant in achieving the rich, elegant life she desired with a dashing Southen gentleman. She remained in the family estate Belle Reve and married to her knowledge the right man only for it all to be lost in one quick motion, faster than she could perceive. With her husband, fortune, and beauty is gone, her desperation led her to delusion in her methods to gain even a hollow of what her southern fantasy once was. Her head only thought, and her mouth only spoke lies, and now that is all she knows and believes as told to Mitch “Never inside, I didn’t lie in my heart”. The polka music in her head is keeping her from comprehending just how far gone she is in her mentality. What finally becomes her last strike is Stanley and his abuse. She couldn’t leave Belle Reve or her past as she could only escape reality in her mind which has then been shattered beyond repair. When she is carried off in the end, she doesn’t try to fight and accepts the attention of strangers as that is what she has come to depend on.

Choices are dependent on the people that decide them and drive the force to either downfall or success. The sisters Stella and Blanche were opposite in their decisions and what came of them but were also more similar to each other than believed. Stella sought after brute desire that she could not find surrounding the family estate Belle Reve. This decision while successful in having a primitive relationship with her husband Stanley also trapped her in this new, abusive life. Blanche’s resolution in staying in Mississippi was not as fruitful in the quintessential Southern lifestyle she yearned for. Each of the sisters was not capable of grappling with reality in a healthy way despite their opposing elections in staying or leaving. Stella ends up holding on to the responsibility of her new family after she left that of her past one. Blanche loses her sanity because of the loss of what she thought staying was going to offer her with an elegant southern life and man. Circumstances outside control moved with each choice and led to the reap of what each sister sewed for herself.

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Run or Stay: A Streetcar Named Desire. (2021, May 17). Retrieved from