The play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” is set in a time where gender roles were severe. Compared to men, women were very restricted when it came to exercising their empowerment. Perhaps it is due to this reason that Blanche Dubois, Stella Kowalski, and Eunice Hubbell, all exhibit low self esteem, depending on male companions for happiness. Blanche Dubois wanted to be perceived as a woman of elegance. In addition to frequently bathing, she wore the finest clothing, perfumes and jewelry.
Readers later find out that this is done for male attention.
Blanche was aging and desperately wanted to find a husband. Already shamed in her hometown of Laurel, Blanche moved to Louisiana with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche saw through her younger sister’s abusive relationship and tried to encourage Stella to leave sadistic Stanley. However, as mentioned before, Blanche had always been dependent on men herself. She convinced herself that if Stella left Stanley, she and Stella would move to the Caribbean by way of a fling, married Shep Huntleigh.
When Mitch, one of Stanley’s friends, was introduced to Blanche, she instantly inquired about marriage. Later, when Mitch rejected Blanche due to Stanley’s gossip about her reputation, Blanche immediately considered living in a fantasy world with the previous man, Mr. Huntleigh. Stella Kowalski not only dealt with issues between Blanche and her husband, but also her own. Stella was incredibly weak and passive. In the first poker night in the play, Stanley put his hands on a then pregnant Stella.
We shortly find out that physical violence is common in not only the Kowalski household, but also upstairs at the Hubbells’. In the same night shortly after the chaos, Stella returned to bed with her husband. Stella refused to believe Blanche’s accusations that Stanley had raped her were true. Eunice Hubbell, the upstairs neighbor/landlady (also in an abusive relationship), forced Stella to deny reality and believe that sending Blanche to a mental institute was her only choice. Stanley represented a much more secure future than Blanche did.