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An Analysis of the Setting in The Scarlet Ibis as the Basic Elements in a Story

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    The setting is one of the most basic elements in a story. It sets the tone, paints a picture for the reader to imagine, and basically shapes the story itself. Without the setting the story could be set in anyplace anytime. You could have a story about space aliens corrupting the inhabitants of mars, but it’s set in a ranch in the early nineteen hundreds. It just doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t have a setting, you don’t have a realistic story.

    When you have a setting, you set a mood, consciously or not. For example, anywhere you might venture in the world has a feeling to it, a mood. When you travel somewhere new, you see it differently than someone else might. Everything about that place is the same, it’s just the way you as a person interpret it. You see it in a certain way, get a certain feel to it, and sub-consciously imprint in your brain that feeling to the room.

    That’s how you might remember it in the future. That’s just how the setting is from a story, just you don’t see it with your eyes, you read it from a text, and imagine it in your head as you keep reading. The way the author describes the setting is the mood, and the way one interprets it is the feeling. In “The Scarlet Ibis” the author sets a grim mood by phrasing a simple action in a certain way, “and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly to the dead.” (Hurst, p184)

    Another thing about the setting that makes the story realistic is that it paints a picture. The more an author describes the setting, the less space there is to imagine what things look like on your own. In real life, you can’t go walking around and decide how everything is, they already have a set certain color, texture, juxtaposition, etc. What makes “The Scarlet Ibis” have such a great setting, and story is that the author describes so many details about the two boy’s surroundings.

    There is a whole paragraph about the flowers in his garden, “The flower garden was stained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank amid the purple phlox. The five o’ clocks by the chimney still marked time, but the oriental nest in the elm was unattended and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle.” (Hurst, p184) That quote shows how well written the setting was. The whole story was like that quote; detailed. You can almost physically see the flowers grow near the house.

    “Of Missing Persons” was not the best story to represent a well-written setting. It was not quite detailed enough to paint a picture for the reader to imagine. The story mainly focused on the actions of the main character. It was really hard to recognize when the story was set, and it was easy to tell it was a story of fiction. The only well-described part of the story was the office. It was easy to imagine.

    Overall, “The Scarlet Ibis” had a more well-rounded setting. It was easy to imagine, and understand the mood of the story. “The Scarlet Ibis” has a distinct time and place to it, all with a grim tone. If the author of “Of Missing Persons” had had a chance to rewrite his, he might have wanted to focus on his description of the setting.

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    An Analysis of the Setting in The Scarlet Ibis as the Basic Elements in a Story. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/an-analysis-of-the-setting-in-the-scarlet-ibis-as-the-basic-elements-in-a-story/

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