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Symbolisms in the Streetcar Named Desire

  • Date Submitted: 04/07/2014 06:55 PM
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Symbolisms in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Sometimes, people are consumed by what they once accomplished and what they once called their own. What a person did in their past greatly affects who they are today. In the play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Tenessee Williams uses different symbols to reveal different meanings of lines and passages. Williams intentionally hid the real meaning of these lines and passages using symbols to intrigue the readers. However, some people might argue that these symbols are merely to add drama and some whimsical essence to the play. The things and actions such as the use of lights, bathing and music in this play signify progression and depict deeper meaning beyond what they truly represent.
Throughout the play, light is one of the symbols that is repeatedly reiterated to the audience. At the beginning of the play, Blanche covers the naked light bulb with a Chinese paper lantern and says: “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or vulgar action.” (Williams, 60) Blanche covers the naked light bulb with the Chinese paper lantern because she cannot accept that her beauty is vanishing. She wants to stay young and desirable. Moreover, it also signifies that she would rather be showered with good remarks or compliments from others rather than hearing and accepting the truth people say about her. In scene six, as Blanche and Mitch come back from their date, Blanche tells Mitch to keep the lights off while they talk to each other. Blanche does not want Mitch to learn about her vanishing beauty and her true age. Since Blanche wants Mitch to be her husband, Blanche wants to lure him close to her by using her beauty and classiness. Therefore, the best way not to jeopardize this plan is for her to keep away from the light. In scene four, Stella tells a story about their wedding night: “He snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light-bulbs with it.”(Williams, 71-72) In this part of the...


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