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 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...

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