A Streetcar Named Desire Summary

A Streetcar Named Desire Summary

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Table of Contents
Summary Part 2
Summary Part 3
Summary Part 4
Literary Analysis
Literary Analysis Part 2
Further Resources

Scene 1 Summary

The play opens in front of an old two-story house in a poor but vibrant neighborhood in New Orleans near the train tracks. The house is divided into upstairs and downstairs apartments. The upstairs one is occupied by Eunice and Steve, the owners of the building. The downstairs, by Stanley Kowalski and his wife, Stella. Stanley and his friend Mitch are seen coming around the corner, on their way to go bowling. Stella goes inside to clean up before heading down to watch, when her sister, Blanche, arrives with her luggage. Blanche has come to live with her sister and Stanley. She goes in and talks with Stella about what has happened to their family’s estate, Belle Reve. Apparently, the estate was lost when disease struck the rest of the family, and Blanche was left alone to pay for it. Blanche is equally distressed about Stella’s living situation. She tells her, “Only Mr. Edgar Allen Poe could do it justice!  Out there I suppose is the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir!” (12). Stanley comes home from bowling, covered in sweat, to find Blanche alone, with Stella gone in the bathroom. They exchange a tense, awkward first conversation, and Stanley removes his shirt as they talk. It viewing Stanley’s physique that Blanche begins to understand the lone reason Stella has married him. During this conversation, it is revealed that Blanche had also lost her husband in addition to the estate.

Scene 2 Summary

The following evening, Stanley is having a poker game at his house, so Stella is taking Blanche out for a night on the town in hopes that they won’t come back until the game is over. While Blanche is soaking in the tub, Stanley pulls Stella aside and asks her about Bell Reve. He says that according to Napoleonic law, property married individuals becomes joint property, and thus Stanley and Stella each should have had a twenty-five percent payout of whatever Blanche got for Belle Reve, and of course they have nothing. Stanley goes rooting through Blanche’s expensive-looking furs and jewelry, asking Stella, “Where are your pearls and gold bracelets?” (34). Stella comes out, and tries to get some compliments on her looks from Stanley, but he is having none of it. He confronts her directly about the sale of Belle Rive and why they have not received a dividend. He also informs her that Stella is pregnant. Blanche immediately does away with her defensive stance and resumes her airy nature, telling Stella she treated the whole ordeal as a joke.