Symbolism - MissBoydEnglish

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Symbolism
Scene 1
Blanche’s Journey - This is when Blanche first arrives at her sisters in Elysian Fields.
‘They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to
Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at- Elysian Fields’ (p.4)
 Symbolic of what has happened in Blanche’s life to bring her to this point – acting
on her desires, being affected by death.
Blanche as a Moth
‘There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes
that suggest a moth’
 Delicate, fragile
 Associated with death and decay
 Moths are drawn to the light, but it is dangerous for them
Scene 3
Stella and Stanley’s animalistic relationship:
Stella- ‘-animal thing you,’ (p.40)
‘Stanley throws back his head like a baying hound and bellows his wife’s
name.’ (p.43)
‘They come together with low animal moans.’ (p.44)
 Primitive kind of relationship – just like animals
 Suggest they have nothing in common apart from sex.
Scene 6
Light
Blanche on love with Allan:
‘It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always
been half in shadow.’ (p.75)
 The relationship was amazing – it changed, illuminated her world
 Now she is back in the shadows
Light
Blanche on Allan’s death:
‘…the searchlight which had been turned on in the world was turned off
again.’ (p.77)
 Now Blanche’s husband is dead she is totally in darkness, the light in her life is
gone
 She learned that the light she is attracted to is bad for her - like a moth.
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Scene 7
Blanche bathing:
‘Temperature 100 on the nose, and she soaks herself in a hot tub.’ (Stanley,
p.78)
 Trying to wash herself clean, wash away the sins and her past.
 She feels ‘dirty’ and guilty
 Blanche is continually bathing throughout the play
Blanche – ‘Paper Moon’
 Singing a song about her wanting people to believe in her and an imaginary
world
 Contrast with what Stanley is revealing about her – no one believes her lies
anymore
 Feel sorry for her
 Theme: Appearance versus Reality
Scene 8
Light – Blanche:
‘Candles burn out in little boys’ and girls’ eyes, or wind blows them out and
after that happens, electric light bulbs go on and you see too plainly…’ (p.91)
 If the light goes out in their eyes, people end up dead inside.
 She is saying that people’s illusions can be destroyed
 Links to her dislike of electric light, which reveals the harsh realities of live.
Light – Stanley says to Stella:
‘We can […] get the coloured lights going.’ (p.90)
 Coloured lights represent sexual passion.
 Light is a positive thing for the, because they are not trying to hide anything
Scene 9
When Mitch confronts Blanche:
‘Let’s turn the light on here.’ (p.99)
 Mitch then tears off the paper lantern he put on for Blanche in Sc 3, so he can
see her in the light
 Symbolises everything that is being revealed – Blanche’s age, her promiscuous
past.
 Theme: Appearance versus Reality
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