As we grow up it’s not only our age and experiences that make us who we are, relationships also shape our identity. All relationships will change our identity no matter who they are or what kind of relationship they have with us. Our friends shape our identity just as much as our family, if not more. This statement is very well depicted in the play “A street car named Desire by Tennessee Williams”. Throughout the play you see the different types of identities being shaped.
If we are around someone enough we will start picking up traits of said person. If we are around someone who is always smiling and expressing themselves more than likely we will begin to express ourselves too. We gather the traits from those around us and our mind will tell us which are good and bad and try to get rid of the bad. With the good trait it will find our comfort zone with the person.
That is why adults are always trying to get children and teenagers to understand that our friends are who shape us in a way. Our family relationships have a very big impact on our identity because we grow up with them. In the play the characteristics of each character was very much affected by their families. Blanche Dubois’ identity for example was shaped in a particular way because of her major losses in life. Her family fortune and estate we gone and she lost her young husband to suicide. This has led to her to have insecurities and making her a disrupted individual. Blanche’s fragile identity is also shaped by Stanley’s cruel actions towards her, also leaving her mentally detached from reality by the end of the play. However Stanley Kowalski’s identity in the book is very much shaped by the relationship he has with Blanche when arrives at the Kowalski household.
Stanley’s intense hatred for Blanche is motivated in part by the upper-class past that Blanche used to have. He sabotages her because he does not appreciate the way she attempts to fool him and his friends into believing she is better than they are. From Blanche’s arrival Stanley has the need to feel like the man of house and does not take any orders from Blanche or Stella which is his wife. In the end, Stanley’s character is seen as harmful and cruel. The relationship between men and women is also a major identity shaper. Often in life the relationship between man and woman can be very unusual as sometimes a woman can have a lot of impact on men or the other around and sometimes they could have no impact.
In the play Stanley and Stella’s marriage very much shape their identity. Shaping Stanley’s identity by making him feel like more of a man. Stella’s identity is very much shaped by the way Stanley treats her. Stella is a not very stable character because of the situation she gets into with her sister Blanche and her husband Stanley. Stella’s identity gets changed throughout the play because a lot of major events happen, such as her sister’s presence, having a baby and how Stanley beats her. Stella’s relationship with Stanley is both animal and violent but renewing as they always make up in the end. After Blanche’s arrival, Stella is torn between her sister and her husband. Eventually, she stands by Stanley, because she gives birth to his child near the end of the play.
Stella’s denial of reality at the play’s end shows us that she actually more in common with Blanche than she thinks. The friend relationship between Stanley and Mitch also shape Stanley’s identity. Stanley is very loyal to his friends and would make sure that his best friend Mitch does not get hurt by Blanche. This is one of the main reasons that Stanley sabotages Blanche. Stanley would go through so much to just make Mitch believe that Blanche isn’t really who she says she is. Since Stanley is a misogynist, he sees himself as a superior to both Blanche and Stella, his need to “own” the house and be in charge is the motivator for his actions towards Blanche.
Knowing that he was going to rape her from the very beginning, he tries and stops Mitch and Blanche from entering any type of relationship. “We’ve had this date from the start” In conclusion all types of relationships affect Blanche and shape her identity in a way. But in the end she lost her identity already because her husband died. In the play there are many relationships that shape the characters such as family relationships, friend relationships and “man and woman” relationships. In life relationships are a major source of shaping our identity.