Shadows represent the dream-world and the escape from the light of day. Initially, Blanche seeks the refuge of shadows and half-light to hide from the harsh facts of the real world. When Blanche first sees Stella, she insists that Stella turn the overhead light off: “I don’t want to be looked at in this merciless glare!” But at the end of the play, shadows become menacing to Blanche. When Stanley approaches Blanche to rape her, his shadows overtake hers on the wall before he physically overpowers her. In the play’s final scene, when the Doctor and Matron come to escort Blanche to the asylum, shadows contribute to the jungle-like, mad atmosphere. Rather than representing a longed-for escape from reality, shadows become a threatening element.
Shadows Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire
The A Streetcar Named Desire quotes below all refer to the symbol of Shadows. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New Directions edition of A Streetcar Named Desire published in 2004.).
Scene 3 Quotes
The kitchen now suggests that sort of lurid nocturnal brilliance, the raw colors of childhood’s spectrum.
Shadows Symbol Timeline in A Streetcar Named Desire
The timeline below shows where the symbol Shadows appears in A Streetcar Named Desire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...her way. She rushes past him, claiming that she has forgotten something. Lurid reflections and shadows appear on the walls again, and the polka music plays distortedly, accompanied by noises of... (full context)