To what extent do the Kowalskis and the DuBois represent a clash of cultures in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
“I am not a Polack. People from Poland are Poles, not Polacks. But what I am is a one hundred per cent American, born and raised in the greatest country on earth and proud as hell of it, so don't ever call me a Polack.” - Stanley Kowalski
In “A Streetcar Named Desire” the clash of cultures between Stanley Kowalski and the two DuBois sisters, Stella and Blanche, becomes very noticeable in certain parts of the play. There is an evident contrast between the “Old” and the “New” America. Stanley is Polish and is part of the growing working class in 1950s USA, whereas Stella and Blanche have a history in the United States and belong to a more sophisticated class where most of what they own is inherited.
Stanley Kowalski struggles to cope with Stella's background as she seems to appear somehow “superior” to him because of her past and where she comes from. He believes he has finally managed to bring Stella into his world when Blanche storms into their lives and tries to win Stella over. This initiates a tug of war between Stanley and Blanche.
The animosity between the two is evident from the beginning of the play. In the first scene we can immediately spot the first sign of a clash between the Dubois and the Kowalskis as Stanley points out, “I'm afraid I'll strike you as being the unrefined type”. He is described as “primitive” and “ape-like” in various ways, and it comes as no surprise that the one to make those remarks was Blanche herself. “There's even something – sub-human – something not quite to the stage of humanity yet!” says Blanche as she's trying to talk some sense into Stella after she had gone back to Stanley following his abuse.
Blanche seems eager to point out Stanley's faults to her sister whenever the opportunity arises. When Stella supposes that perhaps, Stanley is “common”,...