Why Does Blanche Avoid Strong Light?

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A Streetcar Named Desire was written in the late 1940s by Tennessee Williams. It is one of the most influential American plays from the 20th century. Williams manages to create imagery in the readers mind by describing the scenes and less prominent characters. This technique is most noticeable at the beginning of scene one. Throughout the play there are a host of different characters who each have different motives and personalities. Blanche Dubois, a Southern Belle, used to live in Laurel, Mississippi where she went on to lose the family home where her and her sister, Stella, were brought up. Before the loss of the family home Belle Reve, Stella left to go and live with her husband, Stanley in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where after the loosing the house, Blanche went to move in with them. Blanche used to be an English teacher at the local school where she met her young husband. After a heated confrontation about his homosexuality, he shot himself and ever since Blanche has been haunted by the events of that night. She is unstable and uses many ways to trick and delude the people she meets. She lives in her own fantasy world where characters, such as Shep Huntleigh, come from her imagination. There are many themes throughout the play, but one of the most prominent signs of Blanche's declining sanity revolves around her exposure to natural light. We first notice this in the first scene, where Blanche has just arrived in New Orleans, at her sister, Stella's, apartment. She sits down but gets back up again to get a drink. Stella soon arrives back at the apartment and they greet each other but not before Blanche can warn her sister to not look at her in too much detail. Blanche: Now, then, let me look at you. But don't you look at me, Stella, no, no, no, not till later, not till I've bathed and rested! And turn that over light off! Turn that off! I won't

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