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functions of setting

how setting impacts short story

Dana Linde

on 2 October 2015

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Transcript of functions of setting

of Setting
in the Short
Setting is the where and when of the story.

a street, boulevard, or lane
a mountain, desert, or other geographical region
a city, state, country, or even a planet
or even a piece of furniture...like a bed
a specific time of day
a period, an era, an epoch
the past, present, or future
or even a season of the year
It's one thing to know what setting is; however, it's also important to see why setting is essential to a story!
Setting locates action in a specific
time and place so the action is believable.
Setting helps focus the expectations of the reader.
This novel deals with a woman who is branded by wearing a letter "A" on her clothes because she has a child out of wedlock. Do you know any women who have had children but were not married? Would she take kindly to being told to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her clothing?
The protagonist in this story freezes because he is unable to build a fire. Could this happen if the story was set in the Bahamas?
Once the author provides the basic information related to setting, you can fill in the blanks based on your own experiences.
Setting creates mood or atmosphere.
Mood is the climate of a literary work. It is the dominant emotion the reader takes from the story.
Think of your own experiences with films. If a director wants you to feel terrified, what setting details might he use?
What if he
is going for a romantic
What will you find in an old western town?
the Egyptian desert?
a medieval castle?
a rainforest?
or outer space?
Setting reveals character and helps unravel plot.
Setting may reflect character psychology.
It is safe to say that we learn much about characters when we examine the environment in which they choose to live. For example, can someone learn about you from the way you decorate your bedroom?
In Thomas Hardy's "The Three Strangers", it is because of a rainstorm that a condemned man, a hangman, and the condemned man's brother, converge upon a house. The hangman doesn't recognize his quarry, so hilarity ensues. This would not have happened had it not been
for the rainstorm!
reveals character
advances plot
Fog, for instance, always signals some kind of confusion.
Windy or stormy conditions could signal a character's uncertainty or turbulent emotions.
Setting may enhance literary symbolism, or the setting may
serve as the literary symbol
Setting can be used as an agent to foreshadow later action.
In The Cat in the Hat, the story begins at the house and ends there when his mother returns. By starting and finishing in the same setting, the author provides framing.
In EM Forster's A Passage to India, a cave is certainly more than a cave.
When the reader is introduced to the house in Poe's story "The Fall of the House of Usher" and told that there is a "barely perceptible fissure" zigzagging its way down the wall, we get insight into the mental instability of Roderick Usher and his sister Madeline.
Hemingway's classic The Old Man and the Sea would not be the same if it were not set in the Caribbean near Cuba.
A mountain can symbolize a character's difficult struggle.
Sunrise can signify a a new beginning or opportunity
A rainstorm can symbolize a rebirth or washing away old habits to become someone better.
Even Autumn suggests the onset of decay and death.
In Beckett's masterpiece, Waiting for Godot, the road is significant because Vladimir and Estragon return to it each and every day awaiting the arrival of the person who never comes. The return to the road ( a detail of setting) sets up the consecutive action.
In the movie Signs, the abundance of water glasses in the family home and the batting trophy will foreshadow the means by which the family will late r overcome the aliens.
Who can forget how the yellow-brick road drives the narrative forward?
In Lord of the Flies, the boys push a big boulder down the side of the cliff. Golding makes sure to tell us that these boulders are part of the natural landscape, so the reader can only imagine what the kids will be aiming at next time they push a boulder off a cliff.
etting can be used as an organizing agent
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