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  2. Setting  Setting is the “when” and “where” of a story. It includes the physical location and time the story takes place in.  Setting helps the reader infer and interpret more from the story than might have been possible from other details alone.  Setting provides symbolic reference as well, and helps helps to establish the mood of a story.
  3. In The Lady with the Dog, the setting is vital to understanding the mood and tone of the story. But don’t worry, the author, Anton Chekhov does not disappoint. He is very liberal with details of the setting, and can make you feel like you are experiencing the scene yourself. With his great descriptions of weather, time, and place you will know the mood of the story and feel the mood of the characters.
  4. Weather • When Anna and Gurov are together, the weather is warm and inviting. • When they separate to their homes, they weather is dreary and wintery. • When they reunite, the weather is still wintery but in a happy, romantic way. • Chekov uses the weather and climate often to help paint and create the setting and mood.
  5. Time The exact timing of this story is not given, however it is easy to deduce that it must have taken place around the turn of the 19th century. There were cars, but obviously not air travel. In this era in time, affairs like the one between Anna and Gurov were highly frowned upon, and would have made Anna an outcast. Its also important to know that in that period of time it was very common for men to have affairs, but it was usually hush-hush. And very undignified for a married woman, such as Anna. Chekhov specifies when time has past by using traditional phrases like days and weeks. He is very clear as to how much time has lapsed during the story.
  6. There are several locations that comprise the setting in this story. Most vaguely, is Russia. The other locations of the setting are Yalta, Oreanda, Moscow, and S- (the town where Anna lives). The place is also specific in several other scenes, like the public gardens, the hotels, the harbour, and the theater. The places of a setting are any location that a narrator describes, whether it be a town, country, building or any other place.
  7. Mood The mood in this story is directly influenced by the settings and seems indeed to be a large part of the settings. Chekhov uses a combination of weather, time and place to create a specific feeling and emotion. For example, “It was a holiday. It was sultry indoors…it was a thirsty day and Gurov often went into the pavilion, and pressed Anna Sergeyevna to have syrup and water or an ice”. This paragraph sets a happy mood with talk of warmth and leisure. It reminds people of relaxing without responsibilities. Another, “At home in Moscow everything was in its winter routine; the stoves were heated… The old limes and birches, white with hoar-frost… and near them one doesn’t want to be thinking of the sea and the mountains.” This sets a mood of a new beginning and a fresh start. A new season, same routine, but all fresh memories to be made.
  8. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: A Tale For Children”  The Entire story takes place in Pelayo and Elisenda’s courtyard.  We never go outside the courtyard only gather clues about what is going on in the village around you.
  9.  The story takes place somewhere on the coast, we know this because of the reference of the rotten shellfish having to be thrown back in to the sea.  Perhaps in Europe close to Spain, the story references a Norwegian and the character’s names are of Spanish origin.
  10.  The time is a little harder to say for sure.  It is unspecified time in the past.  It is a time where people still attend side shows for entertainment.  Modern enough to have reference to airplanes.
  11.  The Village itself is a small, a blink and you can miss it kind of town with nothing to do.  We know this because the news of a very old man with enormous wings, possibly an Angel, is the most interesting thing that has happened there in months.  Until spider girl came along.
  12. So where is the Setting?  It is hard to say where the setting takes place for sure. We seem to be in the “once-upon-a-time” realm of fairytales.  The author seems to do this on purpose so we use our imagination.
  13. The events in the story correspond to the location and era of the setting, circa 1940- 41. •The story opens on a passenger train that is carrying evacuated children out of the danger zone of German aerial bombers during World War II. •As Penny and Primrose ride the train, they notice that the names on the signs of the train stations have been blacked out. This was done in order to delude invading enemy armies yet the girls do not realize that is the reason for the blacked out signs. •This adds a feeling of anxiety for the girls because they believe that the signs have been black out specifically to delude them and prevent them from finding their way home. The circumstances of the war allow different aspects of the story to stand out more so than if the children were merely being taken on a holiday or if the story had been taken place during times of peace.
  14. The scenes that take place in the mansion do not impact the story as much as the forest scenes. That being said, the manor is important nonetheless because it is being used as a temporary holding house for the children before they are placed with new families. • The mansion has been commandeered from its owner in order to aid in the war effort. This is another example of actions that are deemed to be acceptable during times of war. • Not only does the mansion serve as the initial destination for the girls, it is also the location for the reunion of the women once they are adults.
  15. The forest bears the legend of the Loathly Worm which had been slain more than once by the descendants of the mansion. • Upon entering the forest, both Penny and Primrose believe that they see the Worm lumbering through the woods, passing within an arms breadth of their hiding spot. • The presence of the Worm was so profound that the setting is all but diminished and “the ordinary forest smells and sounds were extinguished.” The scent of the beast resembled the filth that could be found in a city, such as “maggoty things at the bottom of untended dustbins” and “rotten carpets and ancient polluted bedding”; rather than the stench of a forest monster. The body of the Worm contained man-made materials such as “rusty nuts and bolts” and “bits of wire netting”. The Worm both smells and resembles aspects of mankind that have influenced the girls. • The children could be using their fear of the monster as a conduit to express their subconscious fear of the war.
  16. Once the girls have matured into women, they return to the mansion on the same day and reunite while reading a passage in a book detailing the Loathly Worm. Penny makes the comment, “I think there are things that are real-more real than we are-but mostly we don’t cross their paths, or they don’t cross ours. Maybe at very bad times we get into their world, or notice what they are doing in ours.” Both women venture into the forest alone and draw different conclusions from they see and experience.
  17. As Primrose explores the forest, her surrounding begin to give her flash backs to memories of her childhood. A squirrel leaping from limb to limb seems reminds Primrose of her realization that the stuffed animals she received at Christmas had been crafted by her mother. This left her heartbroken on the discovery that there was no Santa Clause; she experienced a “vanishing of magic” that she had adored as a child. Despite her disappointment, Primrose can not help but follow the squirrel to what she believes to be the center of the forest and the focal point of the magic within. Her vivid imagination takes over as she sits herself upon a mound of moss that has a “thronelike aspect”. She is convinced that even though the magic she felt as a child proved to be false, the forest that she found herself in was indeed magical and the “source of terror”. She comes to the conclusion that in places of magic, the imagined things are more real than herself. This ties into to what Penny said about “things that are more real than we are”. Primrose was in the land “where such things reign”.
  18. Penny perceives the forest in a different light than Primrose. She travels back in order to witness something from another reality enter her world. She feels that “she needed to see it. Why she needed it was because it was more real than she was.” Penny was determined to face the Worm and to deal with the unreality that was prevalent in her life. It was the aspect of the unthinkable and the unreality of the forest that had led her to her career dealing with dreams as a psychologist. The setting in this story effects both of the main characters in varying ways and determines who they become as adults and what they believe in .
  19. Conclusion  From helping to provide historical context in The Thing in the Forest to establishing mood in The Lady with the Dog, setting was integral to the overall story.  Sometimes setting is left intentionally vague to lend the story being more relatable to the reader, as was the case in The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.  Setting isn’t always objective. In The Thing in the Forest time and disposition influence Penny and Primrose to remember the details differently, and even affect their perception of the magical quality of the forest, or lack there of.  Without the details on physical environment and the time these stories took place, the reader would be sorely lacking on context and the story left wanting for vibrancy.