A Streetcar named Desire The play is about a southern belle named Blanche DuBois who is attractive but fading. She lives under a veil virtue but in a real sense, she is under the bondage of alcoholism and delusion of magnificence. Her delusions and her insufficient possessions are a form of attraction to new suitors and a weapon to shield her from the reality. She leaves her town to pay her sister, Stella Kowalski, a visit in New Orleans. The directions she is given involve her taking a streetcar named Desire. She arrives and the steamy urban atmosphere comes as a shock to her. Her sister, Stella, is happy to see her but is surprised at how he husband, Stanly reacts when he learns that Stella’s family possession is lost. Blanche says she has decided to take a leave from her job of teaching but the reality is that she got fired because of being involved in an a three month affair with a seventeen year old male student. Her brief marriage to Allan Grey left her with emotional scars after she found out that her husband was gay and after he committed suicide. She therefore plans to stay with her sister and brother-in-law for good. She is not afraid of airing out her views about her brother in law and about his relationship with her sister. Stanly is an individual who can be described as a force of nature. He dominates Stella physically and emotionally but Stella is too in love to care, especially when she finds out that she is pregnant. She runs upstairs to her neighbor’s place every time they two of them have a fight but comes back to him. The presence of Blanche upsets the normal routine of Stella and Stanley.
One of Stanley’s friends, Mitchell, grows fond of Blanche to an extent of believing her fake stories. However, Stanley spoils things for her by setting out to find the truth behind her furnished stories and confronts her cruelly about it. He ends up raping Blanche thus leading to her nervous breakdown. He then commits her to an asylum which leaves Mitchell weeping as the doctor takes her away. Stella is so dumbfounded by her sister’s fate that she runs to her neighbor's place and vows never to come back (O'Shea 150). Gender Roles in Southern Society Gender roles can be described as responsibilities or chores given to people according to their sex. A Street car Named Desire has put across the responsibilities of men and women in the southern society quite clearly. Women are placed as cleaners and cooks of the house in this play. When Stanley comes back home from work he tosses a parcel containing meat to his wife Stella and goes away to meet other men to play poker. He probably expects to find food ready when he comes back. An instance where the women are put across as cleaners of the homes is when Stella is seen cleaning the house after the previous night’s fight, she had with Stanley. Despite Stanley being the one who messed up the place it is still his wife doing the cleaning and tidying up. We also see Stella trying to make the house presentable during Blenches birthday (O'Shea 23). Women are seen as people who should only be seen and not heard in the southern society. When Stella comes back to the house after her girls’ night out with Blanche she still finds the men in her house playing poker. In her opinion, she thinks they have overstayed so she asks them to leave. Her husband simply refuses and the men continue playing as if she had not talked at all. Stanley also