-Whereas Blanche comes from an old Southern family and was raised to see herself as socially elite, Stanley comes from an immigrant family and is a proud member of the working class. They meet one another in the socially turbulent postwar period in New Orleans, one of America's most diverse cities. Blanche and Stanley are polar opposites in several respects. Blanche repeatedly refers to Stanley and his world as brutish, primitive, apelike, rough, and uncivilized. Stanley finds this sort of superiority offensive and says so, but there is something primal and brutish about Stanley. By contrast, Blanche represents civilization on the decline. She speaks vaguely of art, music, and poetry as proof of progress, but reveals little true knowledge.
-In the end, Stanley's down-to-earth character proves harmfully crude and brutish. His chief amusements are gambling, bowling, sex, and drinking, and he lacks ideals and imagination. His disturbing, degenerate nature, first hinted at when he beats his wife, is fully evident after he rapes his sister-in-law. Stanley shows no remorse for his brutal actions. The play ends with an image of Stanley as the ideal family man, comforting his wife as she holds their newborn child. The wrongfulness of this representation, given what we have learned about him in the play, ironically calls into question society's decision to ostracize Blanche.
- Behind her veneer of social snobbery and sexual propriety, Blanche is an insecure, dislocated individual. She is an aging Southern belle who lives in a state of perpetual panic about her fading beauty. the Kowalski household, Blanche pretends to be a woman who has never known indignity. Her false propriety is not simply snobbery, however; it constitutes a calculated attempt to make herself appear attractive to new male suitors. Blanche depends on male... [continues]
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