Blanche Dubois- the Lost Years

If you've seen the movie A Streetcar Named Desire, you will be surprised to learn that Blanche Dubois was not Stella's older sister. She was, in fact, Stella's mother.


The two of them had a story about the family plantation and how they lost it. In reality there never was a plantation- but there was once a mansion back East where Stella spent her earliest years. By the time of Streetcar that mansion was long gone and their time there forgotten.

Blanche's marriage to Stella's father was a disaster. Tom courted Blanche with extravagant displays of wealth, but beneath this there was no love. He was a cold, careless man, and took a mistress when Blanche became pregnant. By the time the child was three her mother was living recklessly, drinking too much and seeing other men.

As little as Tom cared for her personally, he could not tolerate the public humiliation of her affair with her old flame Jimmy Gatz. After Blanche killed Tom's mistress in a hit and run accident and the mistress's husband mistakenly murdered Gatz in a blind rage, the marriage fell apart.

Blanche, an emotional wreck, did nothing to challange Tom's divorce suit. Nick, a distant relation with whom she was close, took charge of her, moving Blanche and Stella to his family home in the midwest. When it became obvious that Blanche was incapable of raising Stella, the girl was sent to live with Nick's older sister Lola and her husband Doc. This middle-aged couple were delighted to have the child, and began calling her "Stella" after the little girl they had lost long ago. (Stella's birth name was Pamela)

Blanche "recovered" from her breakdown and began her second life as Blanche Dubois (she was born Daisy Fay, then became Daisy Buchanan).


Through underworld connections she acquired a certificate and took up as an English teacher in backwater Laurel, MS. She proceeded to squander her divorce settlement maintaining the appearance of having been a "Southern Belle". The fact that she was once a deb from a wealthy family in Lexington helped her pull this off, and she went through a series of lovers willing to play along.

When Blanche came to see her daughter Stella she was introduced as an older sister. Blanche was pleased to maintain this fiction because it allowed her the freedom to pursue her fantasy life. Stella believed that Doc and Lola were their real parents, and when she had vague memories of a big mansion house, servants and a pony, they concocted the story of once having owned the plantation Belle Reve.

You know how this ends. Out of money, her reputation in tatters, Blanche comes to rely on her daughter's hospitality- the daughter who, believing Blanche to be an older sister, is truly a stranger to her. The mass of legal documents Blanche produces to convince Stanley that Belle Reve has been lost are phoney, forged as a favor by Blanche's old friend Wolfshiem from back East, who, at 96 years of age, is still rigging fights.