How does Williams present conflict between old and new in Scene Two of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’?
Williams presents the conflict between old and new in Scene Two in different ways, such as the manner in which Williams portrays the three characters Blanche, Stanley and Stella, as well the added tension through the structure of the scene, and finally in the stage directions. Through the use of these techniques, an atmosphere of tension is seen and felt by the audience, and the contrasts of the characters motifs are clearly highlighted.
The conflict between old and new is demonstrated clearly by a statement made by Stanley, which really shows the audience how contrasted the two families in the play are, ‘The Kowalskis and the Du Bois
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Blanche is also quite sexual, such as when she agrees with Stanley when he uses the innuendo ‘lay...her cards on the table’. This makes the audience feel extremely awkward and uncomfortable as Blanche is flirting with her sister’s husband, and her actions can be considered as morally wrong. In this part of the scene, the sensitive and delicate side of Blanche is also portrayed to the audience, and letters from Blanche’s lover, ‘these are love-letters, yellowing with antiquity, all from one boy’ represent the old and the past. These letters also show that Blanche was once a lot happier and make the audience feel sympathy for her as she treasures these letters so dearly. Blanche cares about that so much that she even threatens to burn them once Stanley has touched them, especially since he is portrayed as a ‘dirty’ character, ‘Now that you’ve touched them I’ll burn them’. At the end of the second part of Scene Two, Williams shows how Stanley now has control over Blanche and the old values, with the quote, ‘I think it’s wonderfully fitting that Belle Reve should finally be this bunch of papers in your big, capable hands’. This sarcastic quote from Blanche illustrates how Belle Reve and the old values have been reduced to nothing but papers, and are now controlled by Stanley and the new values. The audience are also made to feel uneasy