Stella Kowalski (née DuBois) is one of the main characters in
Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire. She is the younger
sister of central character
Blanche DuBois and wife of Stanley
1 In the play
2 In other media
4 External links
In the play
The play begins when Blanche comes to visit Stella and Stanley in New
Orleans after having lost their family home, Belle Reve, and her job
as a teacher in Laurel, Mississippi. We gather that Stella was a
Southern belle who left her home town to find work after her family
fell on hard times. In New Orleans, she met her soon-to-be husband,
Stanley Kowalski, who has just returned from World War II, complete
with decorations. Stella is portrayed as sensual and declining to the
will of her husband.
Stanley is prone to fits of rage in which he throws things and hits
Stella. She often finds herself taking refuge at her neighbor
Eunice’s home, only to return to Stanley when he cries for her to
take him back. It is clear in the play that Stella is attracted to
Stanley's passionate, animal nature, and that is why she stays with
him. Williams neither condemns nor condones this sort of love; it is
the way Stella yields to her marriage. Blanche, who has arrived for a
"visit," is horrified by her sister's situation and tries to convince
Stella to divorce Stanley. Stella refuses, however, bound to Stanley
by sexual attraction and her pregnancy with his child.
Stanley, who prides himself on luring Stella away from her privileged
background, dislikes the influence Blanche has over his young wife.
When Stanley discovers that Blanche has lost the family estate and
been forced out of her home town for promiscuity, he gleefully tells
Stella, who initially refuses to believe him.
The night Stella goes into labor, Stanley drunkenly happens upon
Blanche and rapes her. This sends Blanche completely over the edge
into a nervous breakdown. From what she says in the final scene, it is
clear that Stella has chosen to believe that Blanche is lying about
the rape. She acquiesces to his plan to send Blanche off to a mental
institution. However, in the film adaptation, it is shown that Stella
leaves him and takes their child (though it is ambiguous if she goes
back to him).
In other media
Stella was portrayed by
Kim Hunter in the Broadway production as well
as the 1951 film adaptation. Hunter won an Academy Award for her
In the 1984 TV movie she was portrayed by
Beverly D'Angelo and in the
1995 TV movie she was portrayed by Diane Lane.
In the 1951 film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, there is a
suggestion that Stella may leave Stanley after she finds out about the
^ Brantley, Ben (December 3, 2009). "A Fragile Flower Rooted to the
Earth". The New York Times.
The New York Times
The New York Times Company. Retrieved May
^ Oklopčić, Biljana (Fall 2008). "Southern Bellehood
(De)Constructed: A Case Study of Blanche DuBois". E-Journal of
American Studies in Hungary. Department of American Studies, Institute
of English and American Studies, University of Szeged. Retrieved April
30, 2014. External link in publisher= (help)
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
"A Streetcar Named Marge"
"A Streetcar Na