Allan Lewis writes that “the insensitivity of Stanley Kowalski is pitted against the delicacy of Blanche DuBois” (American Plays and Playwrights – 63); there is a little bit of Heaven and Hell found in these characters. While Stanley clearly revels in the delights of the modern man: strong, brash, and carrying a diaphanous veil of diplomacy over his pugnacious unilateralism, Blanche struggles to reconcile society’s fading benevolence with the growing decay of humanity. “Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable,” she proclaims to Stanley in scene ten. “It is the one unforgivable thing, in my opinion, and the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty of” (108). While it is true that T. Williams refuses to portray Blanche as some paragon of virtue, she nonetheless maintains the soul of the playwright’s narrative--a strong hope, but with a tenuous grasp.
Blanche’s confrontation with Mitch in scene nine offers the most illuminating glimpse into her character: “...[The] searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off,” she admits, “…and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this kitchen candle” (77). This fading light from a brighter past becomes the final spark for Stanley’s future, like the shimmering twinkle of a white dwarf. “Blanche cannot triumph,” writes Lewis, “for the world belongs to the Stanleys” (American Plays and Playwrights – 63). The resulting confrontation, and subsequent rape, not only shatters Blanche’s state of mind, but sets the nail in place atop humanity’s casket. And when Stella chooses her side with Stanley, she provides the hammer.