Light Techniques In A Streetcar Named Desire

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“A Streetcar Named Desire” contains a strong lighting motif that repeats throughout the play. This usually involves Blanche, a character who shies away from any light that is drawn upon her, and is especially sensitive to light when her suitor Mitch is around. To Blanche, she is still young and beautiful in her mind, but when light shines on her she becomes afraid that Mitch will notice her aging skin, her beauty falling. This motif heavily implies how Blanche sees herself and the significance to her sexual innocence.
To begin, throughout the play the audience begins to understand how Blanche sees herself. In fact, it starts off when Blanche closes the curtains and cause commotions when light peaks out from them. For example, this is shown …show more content…

From here on, it shows that Blanche’s appearance and how she perceives herself as a person ties closely to the lighting in the room. For instance, when Mitch and Blanche introduce themselves for the first time, she makes the statement, “I bought this adorable little colored paper lantern at a Chinese shop on Bourbon. Put it on the light bulb! Will you, please?” (54). Of course, this seems innocent, except when she continues to make the claim that, “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action” (54). Blanche links together the light bulb with rudeness and vulgarity. She compares the two different things such as light, which is an indicator for innocence, and vulgar actions, which then she proves she has an extreme distaste for lighting. Presumably, Blanche believes her beauty is like the light, as she shows this when she frantically explains to Stella about how awful it was living back in Laurel, “I never was hard or sell-sufficient enough. When people are soft--soft people have got to shimmer and glow--they've got to put on soft colors, the colors of butterfly wings, and put a-- paper lantern over the light.... It isn't enough to be soft. You've got to be soft and attractive. And I--I'm fading now! I don't know how much longer I can turn the trick” (82). She shows that …show more content…

This is the biggest point of how Blanche relates herself to the lighting motif in the story, which is when she loved this man her world was full of brightness and happiness, much like a light bulb. However, once he took his life she can no longer get that spark of light with anyone, it is forever darkness surrounding them. She introduces her young love to Mitch about this stating: “He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery--love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me” (102). This is where she provides the audience the understanding of the light bulb motif behind the story, the fact that she never feels love the same way she did with that young man she met when she was sixteen years old. When she continues to tell her story, some locomotive passes through and when the light shines on her, she ducks her body over so that it will not shine on her. Therefore, Blanche’s innocence was with that boy, young and naive, and when it ended she can no longer claim her innocence

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