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Compare and Contrast Blanche Dubious and Stella

Autor:   •  July 30, 2011  •  Essay  •  950 Words (4 Pages)  •  9,451 Views

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Tennessee William, in his play, A Streetcar Named Desire, deals the characteristics of two of his main characters who are siblings. In examining their personalities, he also explores their backgrounds and the extent to which class consciousness affects the identity of his protagonist Blanche Dubious. While he suggests that class affects her identity, through her sister Stella, he insinuates that one’s identity is changes in time, through their association with significant others.

The affluent upbringing of the two sisters Blanche and Stella in Belle Reve, makes them indulge in their sensual desires. Being raised in a culture that has unhealthily tolerated natural urges, they both manifest sensitive natures especially when they are faced with the reality of certain challenging decisions. Blanche comes to the Kowalski household with a past of sexual relationships with numerous men. Her intimacy with a 17-year-old student results in the loss of her job as a teacher. She allows men to take advantage of her, failing to refrain from any natural urges. Similarly, her sister, Stella, also indulges in her desires. Unlike Blanche, however, she adapts to the environment to which she is introduced by her husband Stanley. She learns that it is okay to enjoy her sexuality, to "get the coloured lights going". Furthermore, both Stella and Blanche fall in love and marry, accepting the fact that each of their relationships may clash with their Southern principles. At seventeen, Blanche marries her husband, Alan Grey, whom she dearly loved. Stella, on the other hand, married Stanley whom she loved, despite his Polish nationality and upbringing. However, it is in their respective marriages that we can trace the differences between these two sisters.

Blanche is depicted as vulnerable and insecure. Having had to endure many obstacles throughout her life, she has to come to terms with the loss of her job, husband, relatives and ancestral family mansion. On the other hand, her sister, Stella Kowalski exhibits a carefree and forgiving nature. Having left her wealthy life at a young age, to be with her working-class husband, Stanley, from New Orleans, when Blanche ‘visits’ her, Stella is oblivious to the hardships that Blanche has encountered. The relationship between the sisters, is testimony to just how different two people can turn out to be, despite their identical upbringing . At the beginning of the play, we are inclined to perceive that their differences stem from their different personalities, however, by the end of the play, the audience witness Blanche and Stella in very different places both psychologically and physically. The sisters’ differing approach to life and the way that they deal with the people around them cause them to completely change their course of life. The two sisters therefore, lose touch with each other but it is Blanche who further loses touch with the world by her inability to differentiate


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