Using quotes from the play, explain Stella and Blanche's personalities. 

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sangelis84 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blanche and Stella are sisters, but their personalities are very different. Blanche is a romantic, and speaks in lyrical language that often uses figurative language or references poets or writers. She's extremely self-conscious about her appearance, especially about how she has aged. Both of these qualities--her romanticism and her fixation on being young and beautiful--relate to one of Blanche's most intense qualities: she is very nostalgic. These qualities are captured in the passage below: 

"Not far from Belle Reve, before we had lost Belle Reve, was a camp where they trained young soldiers. On Saturday nights they would go in town to get drunk... and on their way back they would stagger onto my lawn and call-- 'Blanche! Blanche!'-- The deaf old lady remaining suspected nothing. But sometimes I slipped outside to answer their calls... Later the paddy-wagon would gather them up like daisies... the long way home." 

Stella, by contrast, is less nostalgic or romantic, and more modern and sensual. She has made her home in the wild and modern city of New Orleans, and is in a passionate and sometimes violent relationship with her husband, Stanley. She explains to her sister: 

"But there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark-- that sort of make everything else seem-- unimportant." 

Her sister is repulsed by this idea of love. She says: 

"What you are talking about it brutal desire-- just-- Desire! -- the name of that rattle-tap street-car that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another." 

Read the study guide:
A Streetcar Named Desire

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