Blanche's fear of reality causes her to prefer to live too long in a dream world and only try to (imperfectly) move out of it when her situation becomes desperate.
Blanche doesn't want to give up her self image as a young, upper class Southern belle, even after she loses the family home, the aptly named Belle Reve, or Beautiful Dream. She descends more and more down the class ladder because she refuses to face reality and accept that her life is not and will not be as beautiful as she hoped it would be. For example, although having to work in that era represented a step down the class ladder from wealth and ease, Blanche could have made a new and reasonable life for herself as a teacher. Unfortunately, however, she wants to live in a dreamworld and throws away her teaching job by having an affair with a student. She then becomes sexually promiscuous as if nobody is going to find out in the South of her time period.
When she arrives at her sister Stella's, she can appreciate her sister...
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