Tennessee Williams's play could be read in the context of Postmodernism, for it explores the ways in which certain remnants of America's history clash with what the nation became after World War II.
Stanley Kowalski is representative of a world that, in Blanche's estimation (and perhaps the playwright's), has become cruder, crueler, and more barbaric. However, it must be noted that Blanche is a quintessential "Southern belle." She represents an aspect of white femininity that depended very much on the emasculation of black men and the objectification of black women. We learn that her pretensions of gentility are just that -- they are not genuine. However, Williams does not use her experience as a prostitute to judge her, but instead to explore the way in which traditional Southern femininity has hurt Blanche, and left her ill-prepared for the world in which she must now exist.
The loss of Belle Rêve is also significant in regard to the impact of social change. Belle Rêve was the Du Bois family plantation. The house on this plantation is imagined as a magnificent example of Classical Revival architecture. It exemplifies Southern hierarchy and the predominance of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants as its patrician class.
When Stanley reminds his wife, Stella, that he took her down off of those columns, and that she loved him for doing so, his equalizing action anticipates a postmodern world in which he, the child of Polish immigrants, has as much social agency as a daughter of the Southern planter class. The action of taking her off of the columns, where she was elevated as an exemplar of femininity, also allowed her to express her sexuality more freely. Female desire was not acknowledged in Blanche and Stella's world, but it has freer reign in the postmodern one. It is important, too, that this clash of sensibilities takes place in New Orleans, a city in which various languages are spoken and different races intermingle with greater ease.