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Blanche and Stella are sisters. They both come from the DuBois family. Their family was part of the Southern aristocracy and was once wealthy. However, there has been a decline of this group and they have now lost their estate, which is called, "Belle Reve." In French, it means "beautiful dream."
Blanche goes to visit her sister Stella in New Orleans. Blanche looks down upon her sister's small apartment and working-class husband. Stella is content with her life. She says that she is happy. Her husband is coarse but passionate, and this makes her happy. She likes watching him go bowling and going to a local nightclub with her neighbors.
Blanche, on the other hand, is described in Williams's stage directions as being like a delicate, white moth. She seems to put on airs. She is fragile, yet condescending. She is an aging Southern belle, whose desires have caused her trouble. She has been promiscuous, but she maintains that she has "old-fashioned" morals. In this way, Stella and Blanche are both motivated by desire. However, Blanche is constantly trying to hide her true feelings.
Blanche has come to her sister because "Belle Reve" has been lost. Blanche says that this was due to the reckless behavior of their family members. She fears that Stella blames her; however, it is Stanley, Stella's husband who suspects that Blanche is hiding things.
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