A Streetcar Named Desire Scene 2
The evening following Blanche's arrival, Stanley and his crew plan to hold a poker party in the kitchen of the house. Stella and Stanley talk about Blanche and the loss of Belle Reve while Blanche is bathing in the bathroom. He is upset over the loss of property and asks Stella what happened, but she says she doesn't know. He explains the Napoleonic Code to her: "In the state of Louisiana we have the Napoleonic code according to which what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband and vice versa." Scene 2, pg. 163-64
Stanley is upset at the possibility of Stella being swindled by Blanche and believes he too is being swindled. He wants to see some legal documents, so he tears open Blanche's trunk searching for a deed or proof of ownership. He mocks all of her pearls and furs. Stella defends her sister by saying that appearances and clothes are Blanche's weakness. She also says that Blanche has owned all of the rich things for years and that they were given to her by old admirers. Stanley still suspects foul play.
Stella goes offstage onto the porch as Blanche comes onstage out of the bathroom, and sees Stanley alone. Stanley begins to approach her bluntly, asking her about Belle Reve. Blanche is uncomfortable changing her clothes with Stanley in her presence, but she continues to change out of fear of his harsh language. They argue and Stella comes onstage to stop the quarrel. Blanche quickly tells her to leave them be and for her to go to the store to get a coke. She leaves and Blanche and Stanley are left alone onstage once again to argue. Stanley tries to abide by Stella's orders to treat her well and compliment her. She flirts with him because it is her method of communicating.
"I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman's charm is fifty per cent illusion, but when a thing is important I tell the truth, and this is the truth: I haven't cheated my sister or you or anyone else as long as I have lived." Scene 2, pg. 167.
Stanley asks more about Belle Reve. Blanche finds all of the paperwork regarding the plantation and gives it to him. He spots other papers and inquires to what they are. She responds, "These are love-letters, yellowing with antiquity, all from one boy....Poems a dead boy wrote. I hurt him the way that you would like to hurt me, but you can't! I'm not young and vulnerable any more. But my young husband was...." Scene 2, pg. 168.
Blanche is very disturbed by the remembrance of her husband and immediately returns to the discussion of Belle Reve. They both realize that it was lost on a mortgage. Stanley says that he will have one of his lawyer acquaintances check up on the papers. He is very suspicious of Blanche and blurts out the secret that Stella is pregnant. Blanche is shocked, but becomes tender in her speech. Stella comes back onstage with Blanche's coke and they embrace. Stella is upset with Stanley for telling Blanche about her pregnancy the way he did. The two sisters leave for a dinner at Galatoire's while Stanley prepares for his poker game.