Use Of Light In A Streetcar Named Desire

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There are several ways you could say Tennessee William uses the motifs of light and shadow throughout the play “A Streetcar Named Desire”. One of the most obvious is how both are used to convey the difference between reality and the fantasy world some characters seem trapped in. Reality is represented by light, under it nothing can be hidden. Whereas staying in the shadows allow one to hide parts of themselves they wish to keep secret and create a false sense of reality, a fantasy of who they want to be. Williams also uses light to develop the character of Blanche, who struggles with her past and aging body. Throughout the play reality is seen as harsh and unforgiving. It illuminates each character for who they really are despite the destruction it leaves behind. Williams uses Stanley as a representation of light throughout the play as he is described…show more content…
When she speaks of her past her world seems bright. Williams writes “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.” (132; sec. 6)Describing just how blinding Blanches love for her deceased husband was. After she drives him to suicide her world becomes dark and she turns to a series of tricks to lure suitor to fulfill her sexual desires. This is where Blanche becomes obsessed with avoiding any type of light, whether it be in a loving relationship or an overhead lightbulb. Her reaction can be seen as an attempt hide the fact her youth is fading as well as her true nature. While staying with her sister Blanche makes several strides to stay in the dark. One of the first in a series of events she has Stanley’s friend Mitch cover a naked bulb in her room with a Chinese paper lantern stating “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action” (114; sec. 3) shows that she would rather hide behind fancy shades than face
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