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A Streetcar Named Desire

by Tennessee Williams

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What is Blanche's internal conflict in A Streetcar Named Desire?

Blanche's internal conflict in A Streetcar Named Desire is her unwillingness to accept reality.

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The internal conflict which propels the tragedy of A Streetcar Named Desire is Blanche's war on reality. Blanche is a highly sensitive and romantic woman, averse to any kind of crudeness or cruelty. She has lost many of her loved ones, learned her husband was having an affair before he killed himself, and found herself exiled from her hometown of Laurel when she was caught sleeping with a teenage boy. These ugly truths, both present within and without herself, are unbearable to Blanche, who still yearns to be the innocent debutante she was before her family lost their class and economic privileges.

As a result, Blanche lies constantly about her situation to Stella and Stanley. She claims to have a wealthy beau waiting to take her away from her miserable life. She denies her drinking problem and her thirtieth birthday. She keeps the salacious parts of her past hidden. Blanche's lies are not meant to be malicious but to comfort her particularly. As she says, "I tell what ought to be the truth." Unfortunately, Stanley discovers the truth about Blanche's past and uses it to thwart her chances at marriage with his friend Mitch. After Stanley rapes Blanche, she experiences a full mental breakdown and completely detaches from reality altogether, forcing Stella to commit her to an asylum.

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