Whether or not we admit it to ourselves, we are all haunted by a truly awful sense of impermanence.
1) The south a changing reality: a sociological approach to ASND.
No other writer has been more closely connected to the region of his birth than Tennessee Williams. Williams set his plays in the South, but the compelling manner in which he rendered his themes made them universal. The South, old and new, is an important theme of the play. Blanche and her sister come from a dying world. The life and pretensions of their world are becoming a thing of memory: to drive home the point, the family mansion is called "Belle Reve," or Beautiful Dream. The old life may have been something beautiful, but it is gone forever. Yet Blanche clings to pretensions of aristocracy. The two sisters, symbolically, are the last living members of their family. Stella will mingle her blood with a man of blue-collar stock, and Blanche will enter the world of madness. Stanley represents the new order of the South: chivalry is dead, replaced by a "rat race," to which Stanley makes several proud illusions. The setting of New Orleans is important to the play: The city is one of powerful contrasts: old French architecture and the new rhythms of jazz; a kind of Old World refinement mixed with the stones of poverty and modern life; decay and corruption alongside the regenerative powers of desire and procreation. The city is eternally in a state of convulsion, a mix of the modern world and New Orleans' confused history; in the American imagination, New Orleans is also associated with desire and the most direct kind of sexuality. Despite the region's industrial transformation, A Streetcar Named Desire presents a sharp critique of the way the institutions and attitudes of postwar America placed restrictions on women's lives. Williams uses Blanche's and Stella's dependence on men to expose and critique the treatment of women during the transition from the old to the new South.