How does Williams present the conflict between old and new in Scene 2 in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The past in this scene would be represented by Stella's emotional explanation of Blanche's state of mind.  She tries to convince Stanley to show compassion and kindness towards Blanche.  In trying to appeal to an emotional frame of mind, Stella's discussion of Belle Reve represents the past.  The emotional bonds, the notion of identity tethered to the estate, and the idea that Blanche represents this area of the past all feed into the first half of the conflict that represents the "old" aspect of being in the world.  Stanley's reaction would be the primary composition of the "new."  His responses to his wife have little to do with anything related to Blanche's notion of identity to the land.  Instead, he is fixated on the money gained from the sale and if Blanche has stolen the money herself.  He fails to accept that Blanche's frail condition is because part of her past is now gone into the past, never to be retrieved again.  Stanley thinks that she has pocketed the money and her emotional frailty is a front to cover for her crime.  It is here where the "new" is present.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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