In the play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the characters continually display conflict and struggle between internal forces which are their true feelings and motivations, or their individual sense of morality and integrity which opposes the external forces of society’s rules and expectations as well as the reality which surrounds them. Such struggle between internal and external forces is illustrated through the use of themes, characterization, and tension.Throughout the play, Blanche DuBois appears to be engrossed in her own fantasies in the hope of obscuring the biting truths of reality. Beauty is a façade, which Blanche constantly enwraps herself in by wearing “costume jewellery” and “summer furs”. Such elaborate clothing enables Blanche to maintain the hopeful dreams, which reside within her as it gives the impressions of glamour and wealth. Having been raised in an aristocratic society, Blanche attempts to maintain this image despite her new and “incongruous” surroundings, being the slums of New Orleans. Blanche is awareness of her “slipping looks” forces her to hide her age by either shying away from the “merciless glare” of light or by dampening it, as seen when she places the paper lantern on the bulb in the bedroom of the Kowalski household. This distortion of the truth, be it her appearance or age, illustrates the theme of fantasies overriding the gritty truths of reality and thereby presents the conflict between the internal and external forces of Blanche’s actions. The significance of the “costume jewellery” suggests her superficial nature, and also demonstrates the falseness of this beautiful and youthful pretense. This theme is reinforced by specific diction used to name Blanche’s former home. “Belle Reve”, meaning “beautiful dream” in French, is “lost on a mortgage”. Metaphorically, the loss of the house is also the loss of Blanche’s reverie-like life within aristocratic society.

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