What is the symbol of the searchlight in A Streetcar Named Desire? Blanche:  "I’d suddenly said--“I saw! I know! You disgust me” And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this - kitchen - candle…"

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Blanche's fear of the searchlight, as well as any powerful light in general that is stronger than the gentle light of a candle, relates to her fear of being seen as she truly is, which means that the searchlight is a symbol of truth.

Blanche's persona as a Southern belle means that she is vain and worried about her appearance; a strong light on her face and body could reveal her age and the physical impact of the passage of time, a prospect that terrifies Blanche. After all, the beauty and femininity of her younger self were not enough for her husband Allan, who was gay, so how can it possibly be enough now that years have passed? Blanche's confidence and her identity as a woman have been compromised ever since she discovered her husband Allan in the arms of a man. The searchlight illuminated not only the truth about her sham marriage, but the truth that she, the consummate Southern belle, was not what her true love actually wanted or needed.

Throughout Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 615 words.)

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