From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Dorothy Parker

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

Ah, the modern world.

Sure, we don't get any concrete clues about the world our speaker inhabits – there aren't descriptions of parking lots or big box stores or that wonder of the modern world, McDonald's. Still, we're fairly confident that this poem is set in the 20th century. For one thing, acid and gas weren't all that available until the 20th century.

More importantly, though, the sort of easy contemplation of the value of suicide wouldn't have been something that people in the 1800s would have considered polite conversation. That leaves us with the 20th century – a time when individuals became more and more in control of their environments and, paradoxically, more and more isolated from one another. In other words, this poem showcases all the ways that humans can manipulate the things around them…even if only to end their own lives.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...