I read The Glass Menagerie in college, but somehow missed out on the crazytown show that is A Streetcar Named Desire. I’m telling you, these American writers did not get hugged enough as kids. And now they’re taking it out on me.
I knew very little about Streetcar before I read it, but I do remember something about a young and beautiful Marlon Brandon yelling “STELLAAAAAAA!” And really, the play is quite simple in concept: Blanche DuBois is a faded Southern belle who comes to live with her sister Stella and brother-in-law Stanley in the city. She’s mournful over the lost family home and her aging process, and she is desperate to fulfill her destiny while clinging to the family manners. And yet a brutal conflict with Stanley will call everything we know about the family into question.
Don’t get me wrong, this play is amazing. Blanche is one of the most unforgettable and fragile characters ever created. But yikes. The breakdown of the human mind and the suffering it produces is really hard to read/sit through.
Also: can I go on a brief rant about Stanley? I do not find brutish, rough men sexy. Not even the least bit. He’s violent, he’s rude, he’s overpowering, and he’s just plain mean. There must be a masochistic streak for women who find him attractive. Or maybe it’s just after my years of longing for Jane Austen heroes, I’m kind of spoiled for any other? Who knows. Either way, I feel about Stanley-love the way I feel about Heathcliff-love. Really? (I also hate Wuthering Heights, but I’ll save that rant for later. It can be its own post).
In short: read A Streetcar Named Desire, but don’t be fooled by young Marlon Brando’s abs. The end.