A Streetcar Named Desire Questions and Answers
by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire book cover
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Compare Blanche and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Stella and Blanche DuBois are sisters, and so they have similar family backgrounds. Both come from a Southern family that was at one time wealthy and respectable but has been gradually deteriorating over recent years. Both are living in New Orleans during the period of the play; Blanche has come to stay with her sister and her husband in their one-bedroom apartment. Both women have gotten to where they are by riding the "streetcar named Desire." Stella has a passionate physical relationship with her husband and overlooks his temper and abusive tendencies because of the "colored lights" that get going when she and Stanley are together. Blanche has ruined her reputation in her hometown by being promiscuous and by having an affair with an underaged student when she was working as a teacher.

While Stella was able to leave her childhood home at a relatively young age and then married Stanley, Blanche remained at the homestead and had the task of caring for aged relatives until they died. She...

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