Everyone sees each other in a different way; some see others as good people and others may not see a good person in anyone. We also see ourselves in a different light than others may see and may glorify ourselves to an extent. Stanley Kowalski from the play “A Street Car Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, is no exception this statement. At the very start of the play, he sees Blanche DuBois as a cheat and a liar from the first moment he saw her. Part of the hostility and tension between Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois derives from their differing class backgrounds.
Blanche, the delicate offspring of a once-wealthy Southern family of landowners who formed the aristocracy of that society, encounters the animalistic Stanley. His crude language and articulated perceptions of Blanche to disturb her fragile nature. Blanche sees Stanley as a working class man who enjoys sex, drinking, bowling, poker playing, violent and most importantly as an animal. Stanley however sees himself more as the “King of New Orleans” and as a man who should be treated with respect. The question still remains however to what extent should we judge others and ourselves.
At the start of the play we see how Stanley enjoys sex. He uses the meat and throws it at Stella to imply how he wants to have sex with her. With this image we are able to see Stanley through Stella’s eyes and how she perceives him. Once Stanley meets Blanche we see yet another time how he only cares about looks and sex when he says Blanche isn’t all that bad looking as he is being suspicious of her losing Bell Reave. We also see Stanley rape Blanche in scene ten showing how he only cares about sex.
Another example would how he reaches into Stella’s blouse at the end of the play. “[He kneels beside her and his fingers find the opening of her blouse]”. Drinking is another image that describes Stanley’s character. Within every scene that Stanley is in involves alcohol. Stanley’s drinking habits causes him to reflect his other characteristics for example he becomes violent towards Stella in scene three after a night of alcohol and gambling. Stanley’s alcoholic behavior is usually induced when he is playing poker, celebrating, or during social gatherings.
He is also shown in scene ten that Stanley becomes “in the mood” when he is intoxicated, because he rapes Blanche after he has drank many beer. “[Stanley appears around corner of building, he’s had a few beers and is carrying some quart bottles with him]”. Though it is not seen as a very important towards the perception of Stanley’s character, bowling is seen as one of the abundance of activities that he relishes. Throughout the play we see little tidbits of Stanley bowling. Bowling could be seen as an escape for Stanley because he seems to go bowling whenever hostility is about to commence.
In scene eight he uses bowling to escape Stella’s anger towards him when he bestows the bus ticket upon Blanche for her birthday. Stella: “She is. She was. You didn’t know Blanche as a girl. Nobody, nobody, was tender and trusting as she was. But people like you abused her, and forced her to change. [Stanley crosses into bedroom, ripping off his and changing into his bowling shirt, she follows him] Do you think you’re going bowling now? ” Poker is shown to be a man’s territory in the play and because Stanley is a manly man, the card game is a part of his character.
Poker, like bowling, can be seen as an escape for Stanley and a chance for him to get some man time with his friends. However it is more like an addiction than a night with the boys. Mitch: “Poker shouldn’t be played in a house with women. ” Violence is shown as a norm within the play. Though Blanche was not used to the violence in scene three she becomes accustom to the violence later in the play. Stanley is shown as a person whom has anger management issues that leads him to his violent outbreaks. He also uses his violence to assert his dominance within every situation.
Activities that Stanley enjoys, also stimulate violent behavior when he gets frustrated or irritated. “Stella: Your face and your fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go and wash up and then help me clear the table. [he hurls a plate to the floor. ] Stanley: That’s how I’ll clear the table! Don’t ever talk that way to me! “Pig -Polack – disgusting –vulgar – greasy! ” – them kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister’s too much around here! What do you two think you are? A pair of queens? Remember what Huey Long said – “Every Man is a King! And I am the king around here, so don’t forget it! [he hurls a cup and saucer to the floor] My place is cleared! You want me to clear your places? ” The final characteristic of Stanley is his animal like behavior. His violence as well as his sexual tenancies are the key players in his behavior. Stanley is shown as a person that does not care about others feelings or what they say. In scene two when Stanley interrogates Blanche about Belle Reave, he does not care for the letters or her possessions when he was searching through her belongings. When Stella tells Stanley that
Blanche is very fragile, he just answers her with a “so? ” to show his indifference to Blanche’s feelings. “Stanley: I don’t care if she hears me. Let’s see the papers! ” All of these perceptions of Stanley are major in the development of his character. Stanley uses his different perceptions to create an atmosphere of dominance around those around him making him the “King of the jungle”. With trying to create this atmosphere, Stanley ups his status as king. This brings us to the conclusion that self-judgement may create a good self-esteem but will diminish other’s judgement.
Courtney from Study Moose
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