Summary of A Streetcar Named Desire
After losing her family mansion in Laurel, Mississippi to creditors, Blanche DuBois, penniless, moves to New Orleans to live with her younger sister, Stella, who is married to Stanley Kowlaski. When Blanche first meets Stanley, she immediately feels uncomfortable and senses his roughness. Stanley, too, dislikes and distrusts Blanche. Suspicious of Blanche, Stanley persistently questions her about her past, increasing the tension between them as the play progresses.
During one of Stanley’s poker games, Blanche meets a man named Mitch, with whom she feels an immediate connection. Stanley gets too drunk at the game and ends up beating Stella. Stella and Blanche leave the party together after this incident, and take refuge with an upstairs neighbor. Stanley, once sober, cries out to Stella from the courtyard below until she comes back to him.
Blanche vehemently disapproves of Stella’s choice to stay with Stanley, and tries to convince Stella to leave him. Stella assures Blanche that everything is fine between her and Stanley. Once Stanley overhears their conversation and comes into the room, Stella affirms that Blanche’s opinion of Stanley does not matter to her.
Blanche hopes to move in with Mitch in order to escape the hostile environment of the Kowlaski apartment. During a meeting with Mitch, Blanche divulges information about her late husband’s suicide with him. Mitch is moved by Blanche’s story and the deep connection between Blanche and Mitch becomes tangible at this point in the play.
Stanley later tells Stella gossip he had heard about Blanche’s past and reveals that she was fired from her teaching job for having sex with a student. Stella becomes infuriated over Stanley’s behavior. Amidst the fight, Stella goes into labor. Blanche eventually confesses to Mitch that the stories he heard from Stanley were actually true. Despite her pleas for forgiveness, Mitch rejects her outright and makes advances toward her as though he is about to rape her. Blanche escapes.
In a final confrontation between Stanley and Blanche, it is implied that Stanley rapes Blanche. Blanche suffers a mental breakdown after this.
The final scene of the play is set at another poker game at the apartment weeks later. Stella refuses to believe that Stanley raped Blanche. Blanche is about to be committed to a mental hospital, and initially resists the doctor’s and nurse’s attempts to take her to the hospital. When the doctor helps her up, Blanche goes with him willingly. The play ends on an unsettling note, with Stanley comforting Stella as the poker game continues on.