The Importance of SettingSetting is the psychological time or place in a story. Setting plays an important role in the success of stories. Three examples of this importance can be explained through ?To Build a Fire? by Jack London and ?The Cask of the Amontillado? by Edgar Allan Poe and ?A Worn Path? by Eudora Welty. The settings used in these stories set the reader’s mood. A good writer’s depiction of setting puts the reader right into the story.
?To Build a Fire? by Jack London takes place on a trail in the Yukon. This setting is vital to the story because nature, the cold and the snow become the the main character’s worst enemy. Nature is flatly indifferent to mankind’s survival. The cold will not change because of man nor does it care about human existence. The temperature in this story is set at a frigid seventy-five degrees below zero. The main character is a man who is walking a trail by himself trying to make it to a camp near Henderson Creek where other men are staying. He was warned not to go out into the cold, especially alone, if it is fifty degrees below zero or more. The man is ignorant to reality. His only companion is a dog who is almost smarter than the man. The dog knows what he must do to survive and is the only one who succeeds. The man has to build a fire in order to dry his boot that had gotten wet. At one point in the story, the man wants to gut the dog and put his hands inside the carcass for warmth. The last fire that the man builds is what kills him. The fire is put out by snow that has fallen down from a pine tree branch. The man freezes to death. He dies with dignity. Setting is very important to this story, without it, the reader would not learn of the common ignorant human behavior when it comes to survival in an indifferent environment. The setting of this story does not regard the man as important and is unconcerned with his suffering and death. Mankind can not control nature and our survival in it. We can heed warnings though and not chance our survival in horrible natural weather conditions.
Setting in ?The Cask of the Amontillado? by Edgar Allan Poe plays an important role with the development of horror and tension necessary for readers to feel. This story is perfectly set in catacombs with the walls lined with human remains. The cavern walls are also described to have ?white web-work?. Told through first-person narration by our main character, Montresor, it is a story about revengeful murder. Montresor deviously leads his ?friend? Fortunato through the vaults down the long and winding staircase to the ?damp grounds? of the catacombs of the Montresors. A bottle of wine is opened and Fortunato drinks to ?the buried that repose around us? as the scheming Montresor drinks to his friend’s ?long life?. The intense description of setting in this story is very suspenseful and eerie. Poe describes the men passing ?long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs.? Montresor buries his friend inside the wall of the catacomb and finally finishes his work around midnight. The last line of the story is ?In pace requiescat? which means ?may he rest in peace?. The setting is absolutely necessary to base this story on. The catacombs of death provide an appropriate setting for the story’s suspense and inevitable ending.
There is situational irony in the fact that the crime takes place during a celebration, that Fortunato’s name means good luck, and that Fortunato is dressed like a jester. What is about to happen is just the opposite of what you would expect. Just about everything Montresor says is ironic. He says just the opposite of what he means. He keeps inquiring about Fortunato’s health and says he will not die of a cold. The greatest use of irony is when Montresor says he is a member of the masons. Fortunato thinks he means he is of a fellow member of