One of the most important images of the play is the paper lantern that Blanche buys. Blanche "can't stand a naked light bulb" because she is so self-conscious about her aging beauty. She needs the lantern to cover the bulb and diminish the light, so that she looks, in the half-light, "soft and attractive." As she says to Stella, "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." On a deeper level, the image of the lantern over the light also represents more broadly Blanche's desire to hide her past. She wants to appear chaste and respectable, like a traditional Southern belle, but this is a fading facade which hides a more sordid reality of promiscuity and alcoholism. Towards the end of the play, Mitch tears the lantern from the bulb, declaring, "I've never had a real good look at you," and in so doing he exposes Blanche physically, but more importantly he also exposes (to the literal and metaphorical light) her past, and her true character.
Another key image, from the final scene, is the image of the "grotesque" shadows and "lurid reflections" that appear on the walls around Blanche, and that begin to "move sinuously as flames." These images of sinuous shadows and reflections accompany and visually represent Blanche's mental breakdown. They are the reflections and shadows from her past which haunt her. In this same scene, the walls of the stage become transparent, representing how, for Blanche, the barriers between reality and fiction, past and present, and madness and sanity, have all finally broken down.
A third key image, from the opening scene of the play, is the package of meat that Stanley "heaves" towards Stella. This is a significant image because it places Stanley as a primitive, caveman type of character. He is the alpha male, bringing the meat home for his woman. The primitive impression is compounded by Stanley's monosyllabic utterances of "Catch!" and "Meat!"