What are some points of comparison between Faulkner's Emily in "A Rose for Emily" with Williams' Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Emily in "A Rose for Emily" and Blanche du Bois in Streetcar Named Desire, though very dissimilar, are nonetheless similar in several ways. First and foremost they are both formerly wealthy Southern women at historic and cultural crossroads where definitions of culture, society, and behavior--even appearances--are being rewritten and neither Emily not Blanche successfully make the transition.

Emily fails in her transition from pre-Civil War ideals to post-Civil War realities because she cannot grasp a life without her father taking care and control of her; a life in which society is defined by the best families in town instead of by the Town Hall that assigns house addresses and taxes.

Blanche du Bois fails in her transition from twentieth-century, post-turn of the century, beauty and elegance to mid-twentieth achievement and license built on greater industrialization and greater personal choice. Blanche seems forever stranded by the streetcar named "desire" that seems to transport her to places that she doesn't understand as she disrupts marriages, disrespects pregnancy, hobbles household routine and hysterically idolizes beauty.

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