What is the significance of light in A Streetcar Named Desire?

Light is significant in A Streetcar Named Desire because it symbolizes truth and reality, which Blanche is unable to see and unwilling to accept.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In A Streetcar Named Desire, light is truth—something that Blanche repeatedly runs from. She is unable to face the truth about herself and her life, so she cloaks herself in shade and darkness. However, truth has a way of finding Blanche, despite her best efforts to stay in the dark.

Blanche attempts to keep her demons hidden, but they come to light. For instance, she is tortured by the memory of her young husband Allan. He committed suicide as a result of a confrontation with Blanche. She has buried the memory, but she still feels guilty for telling him he disgusted her. Blanche feels responsible for his death and wishes the truth to remain hidden in the past.

Allan’s death is not the only truth that haunts Blanche. She is upset that Stella moved away from their home at Belle Reve and left Blanche to deal with all responsibility. One by one, their family members died. About the pain, she says:

I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1104 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on