A Streetcar Named Desire centers on the conflict between Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. Why and how are their personalities and values in conflict?

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It would be simplistic to state that class conflict is the main problem between Blanche and Stanley, but there is an element of truth in this. Stanley is a working-class man who has "married up" but is seemingly forever in a position of having to prove himself as being as...

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It would be simplistic to state that class conflict is the main problem between Blanche and Stanley, but there is an element of truth in this. Stanley is a working-class man who has "married up" but is seemingly forever in a position of having to prove himself as being as good as the supposedly gentrified background of his wife, Stella, and her sister Blanche. When Blanche arrives on the scene, Stanley is placed in an even more defensive spot than usual, because Blanche clearly looks down on him.

The class differences would not be so crucial if Stanley, especially, were a different sort of person. He's hostile, aggressive, and obnoxious, even to the men in his own circle. The instance of physical abuse to Stella, though in some sense triggered by Blanche, is obviously not an anomaly. Neither is Stella's willingness to forgive him for the violent assault. The dynamic between Stanley and Stella is already hugely dysfunctional, and this is partly at the root of the antagonism between Blanche and Stanley.

In true Tennessee Williams mode, however, smoldering antagonism is merely an adjunct to sexuality. None of the above would even matter if we were not led to understand that from the start, at least unconsciously, Stanley and Blanche are violently attracted to each other. Stanley wishes to destroy Blanche's pretensions to a higher "status," but his ultimate intention is to do so in as primal a way as possible. Blanche, in parallel with this, is consumed by guilt. The suicide of the man she loved haunts her, and she has a death wish. The Mexican woman, with her repeated "flowers for the dead," is like Blanche's conscience. Yet Blanche is also an emblem of the oppression of women. Whether Williams consciously intended her this way is beside the point. The constricted choices for women of the time and place, coupled with her sister's being so controlled by Stanley, have forced Blanche into a position where the catastrophe of Stanley's assault upon her becomes almost a foregone conclusion.

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There are a number of major differences between between Blanche and Stanley that generate a good deal of conflict. Blanche's arrival disrupts the rhythm of Stanley's home life. He's used to being number one, master in his own house. But now that Blanche has arrived he's no longer the center of Stella's attention, and he's insanely jealous of Blanche for taking away that attention from him.

Blanche is a tad too refined for the hulking, brutish Stanley. Although she's not quite the paragon of Southern refinement and respectability she'd have us believe, her superior demeanor and ladylike mannerisms drive Stanley up the wall. Stanley's an uncomplicated man; but what he lacks in formal education, he makes up for with street smarts, and this allows him to see right through Blanche's delicate facade.

The two characters are like chalk and cheese. There was never the remotest chance that they'd ever get along. Though a thoroughly disreputable character, Blanche still clings to her rarefied social background as the one thing in life that gives her pride and a sense of who she is. She looks down on Stanley, contemptuously describing him with an epithet commonly used against Polish-Americans. She's better-educated, more book-smart, in stark contrast to the unlettered Stanley, and this further adds to her sense of superiority. Stanley hates being patronized, so doesn't take Blanche's airs and graces too well. With him, what you see is what you get, and he doesn't have time for anyone who isn't the same. Blanche isn't like that at all; to Stanley, she comes across as artificial, affected, and phony. This evaluation of Blanche's character inspires Stanley to find out the truth about her past and destroy her credibility in the eyes of Stella.

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The basic conflict between Stanley and Blanche centers on the fact that Blanche moves in with them and won't move out because she has no place to go. There would be no conflict if Blanche had her own apartment and some source of income, but she has neither. She acts sweet and feminine, but she is desperate and fighting for her existence. She knows that Stanley wants to get rid of her by any means because she is a nuisance, an expense, and a threat his relationship with Stella. She obviously doesn't think Stanley is good enough for her sister and can't help trying to damage their marriage. In the meantime Stella is pregnant. The unborn baby poses an additional threat to Blanche because Stanley and Stella will need room for the baby which is being taken up by Blanche. The tininess of the apartment is part of the problem in this play. Even Blanches realizes this and is trying to solve her problem by finding a man to marry her. She is getting old. She can't find work as a teacher because she has a bad reputation for misconduct with teenage male students. She wouldn't consider a menial job such as doing housework. She dwells on the past and refuses to face reality. Stanley Kowalski is reality incarnate. The baby growing inside Stella's womb is reality incarnate. The terrible, cramped apartment is reality too.

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The central conflict in Tennessee William's play A Streetcar Named Desire is between Blanche and Stanley. This conflict begins when Stanley notices that Blanche sees herself above everyone else.

The fact that Stanley is a strong man and Blanche is a weak woman immediately sets them at odds. Blanch sees herself above her sister's life and Stanley easily accepts his life in the flats in New Orleans. Given that Stanley recognizes the fact that Blanche looks down on him forces him to assert his masculinity over her.

Underneath, Blanche is a liar and Stanly is not. This, alone, causes conflict between them. Basically, Stanley has the guts to admit what he is and Blanche is constantly trying to hide who she is. This, also, sets up a conflict between Stanley and Blanche given his values conflict with hers. While readers, or watchers of the play, may not like Stanley, he is real. At no point in the entire play do readers see the real Blanche.

Both are strong in personality (in some aspects). This causes a problem between them based upon the fact that they are both trying to pull Stella in different directions.

In the end, their personalities are too similar in some ways and too different in others to allow them to get along. Neither looks at life in the same way and both have their way of looking at life in general. There are simply too many differences to allow them to get along. They were created to simply conflict with each other.

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