A Streetcar Named Desire

Stella is Blanche DuBois’s younger sister and Stanley Kowalski’s wife. She is the emotional center of the play. Stella is the calm, reasonable foil to Blanche’s frenetic hysteria, and she is the soothing, feminine voice that counteracts Stanley’s violence. Although she loves Blanche and is hurt when Blanche is hurt, and although she is wistful, Stella has no desire to return to her past: she has chosen her present circumstances willingly, and she has made her life in New Orleans with Stanley. Stella’s pregnancy underscores her commitment to her Kowalski future, not her DuBois past. Stanley dominates Stella: she is drawn into the magnetic pull of his powerful physical presence. By modern-day standards, Stella is the victim of domestic violence, but in the play, her decision to return to Stanley even after he hits her is not judged as definitively right or wrong.

Stella Kowalski Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire

The A Streetcar Named Desire quotes below are all either spoken by Stella Kowalski or refer to Stella Kowalski. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New Directions edition of A Streetcar Named Desire published in 2004.
Scene 1 Quotes

Stella, oh, Stella, Stella! Stella for Star!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

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Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go? I let the place go? Where were you! In bed with your–Polack!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 3 Quotes

STELL-LAHHHHH!

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 4 Quotes

There are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark–that sort of make everything else seem–unimportant.

Related Characters: Stella Kowalski (speaker), Stanley Kowalski
Related Symbols: Shadows
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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What you are talking about is brutal desire–just–Desire!–the name of that rattle-trap street-car that bangs through the Quarter.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Related Symbols: The Streetcar
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Don’t–don’t hang back with the brutes!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Stella Kowalski Character Timeline in A Streetcar Named Desire

The timeline below shows where the character Stella Kowalski appears in A Streetcar Named Desire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
Interior and Exterior Appearance Theme Icon
Masculinity and Physicality Theme Icon
Femininity and Dependence Theme Icon
...river in New Orleans. The neighborhood is poor but has a “raffish charm.” Stanley and Stella Kowalski live in the downstairs flat, and Steve and Eunice live upstairs. The stage is... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Masculinity and Physicality Theme Icon
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...on the front stoop when Stanley and Mitch come around the corner. Stanley bellows for Stella, and when she comes out on the first-floor landing, he tosses her a package of... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
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...uneasily at a slip of paper at her hands. She is looking for her sister, Stella, and she has been told to take “a street-car named Desire” and transfer to Cemeteries... (full context)
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Eunice lets Blanche into the Kowalskis’ flat and tries to make small talk about what Stella has mentioned about Blanche––that the latter is a teacher from Mississippi, and that they grew... (full context)
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Stella bursts into the apartment, and she and Blanche embrace excitedly. Blanche speaks with a feverish... (full context)
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Stella’s quietness makes Blanche anxious that Stella isn’t glad to see her, but Stella reassures her... (full context)
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...in the apartment. She makes disapproving comments about Stanley’s lower-class status and his friends (“Heterogeneous––types”). Stella is very much in love with Stanley, and she tells Blanche not to compare him... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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...she recalls how she suffered through the deaths of their parents and relatives. She accuses Stella of abandoning the family and the estate to jump into bed with her “Polack.” Stella... (full context)
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...sweaty shirt in front of Blanche, asking her about being an English teacher in Mississippi. Stella is still in the bathroom. When Stanley asks Blanche about her marriage, polka music plays... (full context)
Scene 2
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...the next day, at six o’clock in the evening. Blanche is taking a bath offstage. Stella tells Stanley that she and Blanche are going out to the French Quarter for the... (full context)
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...the sale, Stanley insinuates that Blanche’s hysteria is a cover-up and that she has swindled Stella out of the money from the estate. If Stella has been swindled, he says, then... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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...her flashy dresses and costume jewelry are expensive, glamorous pieces that cost thousands of dollars. Stella tells him that they are fake fur and rhinestones and stalks out angrily to the... (full context)
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Stanley breaks the banter by yelling bluntly, “Now let’s cut the re-bop!” Stella rushes in to play peacemaker, but Blanche sends her to the drugstore to buy her... (full context)
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Stella returns from the drugstore, and Blanche greets her exuberantly, flushed with the news of her... (full context)
Scene 3
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Stella and Blanche return, and Blanche powders her face before entering the apartment. Stella tries to... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
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...awkward, and Blanche looks at him with a “certain interest.” A bit later, she and Stella discuss the men as Blanche undresses strategically in silhouette. Blanche says that Mitch seems “superior... (full context)
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Stanley yells at Blanche and Stella to be quiet. Blanche turns on the radio, but Stanley turns it off and stalks... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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Femininity and Dependence Theme Icon
...case: a quotation from an Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnet. Blanche claims to be younger than Stella, and she asks Mitch to hang a Chinese lantern over the naked electric bulb. Stanley,... (full context)
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As Stella comes out of the bathroom, Blanche turns the radio back on, and she and Mitch... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Interior and Exterior Appearance Theme Icon
Masculinity and Physicality Theme Icon
Femininity and Dependence Theme Icon
...Blues music plays from offstage. After a moment, Stanley emerges, soaked and repentant. He cries “Stella” over and over, his howls increasing each time in volume and desperation. Stanley stumbles outside,... (full context)
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...and tells her not to worry, that this is just the nature of Stanley and Stella’s relationship. He offers her a cigarette, and she thanks him for his kindness. (full context)
Scene 4
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The next morning, Stella lies tranquilly in bed when Blanche, wild from a sleepless night, comes in. Blanche is... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
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...from oil wells in Texas. Blanche proposes that Shep could provide money for she and Stella to escape and begins to compose a telegram to him. Stella laughs at her. Blanche... (full context)
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Stella says that Blanche saw Stanley at his worst, but Blanche replies that she saw him... (full context)
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...Stanley, calling him an ape-like, bestial creature. “There’s even something––sub-human” about him, she cries, telling Stella, “Don’t––don’t hang back with the brutes!” Unbeknownst to the women, as Blanche pours out her... (full context)
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Under the cover of a train’s noise, Stanley slips out and re-enters. Stella leaps into his arms, and Stanley grins at Blanche as the “blue piano” music swells... (full context)
Scene 5
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Stella and Blanche are in the bedroom. Blanche laughs at a letter she is writing to... (full context)
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...comes in and says that Eunice is getting a drink at the Four Deuces, which Stella says is much more “practical” than going to the police. Steve comes downstairs with a... (full context)
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...to the building. Stanley leaves for the Four Deuces, saying that he will wait for Stella there. (full context)
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Blanche frantically asks Stella what people in town have been saying about her. Blanche admits that there was a... (full context)
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Stella hands Blanche a Coke and tells her not to talk so morbidly. Blanche asks for... (full context)
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Stella worriedly asks Blanche why she overreacted to the stain, and Blanche claims that she is... (full context)
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Stanley comes around the corner and bellows for Eunice, Steve, and Stella. Stella tells Blanche that everything will work out, and she runs off to join Stanley... (full context)
Scene 6
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When Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are, Blanche explains that they are out with Eunice and Steve. Mitch suggests that they... (full context)
Scene 7
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It is an afternoon in mid-September. Stanley comes into the kitchen to find Stella decorating for Blanche’s birthday. Blanche is taking yet another bath to soothe her nerves, which... (full context)
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Stanley sits Stella down to tell her all the details he has heard about Blanche. Shaw, a supply... (full context)
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Stella is dazed. At first, she doesn’t believe Stanley, making the excuse that Blanche has always... (full context)
Scene 8
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Stanley, Stella, and Blanche are finishing the dismal birthday supper. There is an empty fourth place at... (full context)
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Blanche rushes to the phone to call Mitch, even though Stella tells her not to. Stella goes out to Stanley on the porch, and he holds... (full context)
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Stella goes inside and begins lighting the candles on Blanche’s birthday cake. Blanche and Stanley join... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
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...Blanche tries to smile and laugh, but she crumples and rushes into the bathroom, gagging. Stella reproaches Stanley for treating Blanche so harshly, saying that Blanche is a soft creature who... (full context)
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Stella demands to know why Stanley has been so cruel to Blanche. He says that Stella... (full context)
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A sudden change comes over Stella, and she tells Stanley to take her to the hospital––she has gone into labor. Stanley... (full context)
Scene 11
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It is several weeks later. Stella is packing Blanche’s things. Blanche is in the bath. The men are playing poker in... (full context)
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Eunice tells Stella that the baby is asleep upstairs, and the woman discuss Blanche. Stella says that they... (full context)
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Stella tells Eunice that she couldn’t believe Blanche’s story about being raped by Stanley, since if... (full context)
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...bathroom. She appears in the red satin robe. The polka music plays in the background. Stella and Eunice murmur appreciatively over Blanche. Blanche asks if Shep has called, and Stella tells... (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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...Stanley’s voice startles Blanche. Her hysteria mounting, she demands to know what is going on. Stella and Eunice soothe her, saying that Blanche is going on a trip. (full context)
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...unwashed grape. As she speaks, a Doctor and Matron have come around the corner, and Stella and Eunice grow tense in anticipation. (full context)
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...lady is also with Shep. Blanche is anxious about walking through the poker game, but Stella goes with her. As Blanche crosses through and the men (except Mitch) stand awkwardly, Blanche... (full context)
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...bare bulb and holds it out to her. Blanche shrieks. All the men rise up. Stella runs out to the porch and Eunice embraces her. Stella sobs, saying, “What have I... (full context)
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While Stella and Eunice are speaking on the porch, Mitch has started toward the bedroom, but Stanley... (full context)
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Blanche and the Doctor walk out of the house and around the corner. Stella cries out, “Blanche! Blanche! Blanche!” but Blanche doesn’t turn. Eunice places Stella’s baby in her... (full context)
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Stanley joins Stella on the porch. She starts to sob “with inhuman abandon,” and he holds her in... (full context)