Power in Literature Short Stories: Part 2

The micro setting: Enterprise. The macro setting: “Space, the Final Frontier!”

LiteratureShort Stories

Transcript

00:17

What is setting?

00:19

Setting is basically everything. [ancient Egypt]

00:22

It's the backdrop of the story. That can be the historical context,

00:26

both time and place, it can be

00:29

the micro setting meaning as opposed to the macro setting which is the big

00:33

setting of you know, 1920's New York [old 1920s movie]

00:38

it can be the micro setting: Gatsby's house. [view of mansion]

00:41

The smaller location where something takes place.

00:45

And setting can also be kind of a mental state

00:48

if there's a story that takes place completely in someone's mind [guy's mind pops open with springs]

00:51

that is the setting like their chronic mind or whatever the case is but yes

00:56

setting is basically the context and the backdrop for the story

00:58

How should we assess the story or setting in its context?

01:02

One of the main things we learn from the Great Gatsby

01:05

about the nineteen twenties

01:06

is that alcohol was illegal

01:09

and it was everywhere and we kind of see this prohibition [police fighting gangs]

01:12

era, you know, crazy party life happening and this is something that you know [people dancing]

01:17

maybe we didn't learn about in seventh or eighth grade history,

01:19

and then we come in we read this book for the first time in ninth grade,

01:22

and we're like, "wait, what's the big deal these people are all over 21?"

01:27

"Oh! Oh alcohol was illegal," and then we learn this whole new historical

01:31

concept so you don't just have to know about the literature you have to know about the history too

01:35

and you can't have one without the other so historical setting is hugely

01:38

important in all literature.

01:41

How does setting convey the author's message?

01:44

We have kind of the macro setting again that means the bigger

01:47

backdrop setting. In the Hunger Games, which is

01:50

post-apocalyptic North America. [the Terminator in a wasteland]

01:52

"Come with me if you want to live."

01:54

we're in the same place that we live right now but

01:57

you know however many years in the future once there's been a clear war and

02:01

you know everything's about to, you know what [nuclear explosion]

02:04

But we also have these micro settings for example the Capitol

02:07

everyone's dressed up to the nines and they have created

02:10

outfits and makeup all this insane stuff and then you have District 13

02:14

where everything is just dreary, dark the reason that District 13 is like that is

02:19

because it's a mining town [miner walks across screen]

02:20

so there happened to be mines in District 13 and that

02:23

dictates what the setting it so those are two very

02:27

distinct micro settings within one larger macro setting.

02:30

Got it, makes sense. So apply the same logic

02:34

to a couple of other books: Catcher in the Rye,

02:36

Twilight, maybe To Kill a Mockingbird

02:38

Yeah, sure

02:39

so Catcher in the Rye, New York City is basically a character [New York City building with googly-eyes]

02:43

in the story, everything that happens to Holden happens because he's

02:48

in New York City we think about

02:49

Central Park and just kind of him being on buses and public transportation [guy riding the underground]

02:53

this isn't stuff that necessarily happens in other locations sometimes the setting can be

02:57

so powerful that it becomes a character in itself, you mentioned Twilight

03:01

Forks, Washington it takes place up there because it's dark

03:05

there's no sun the vampires can live without being exposed you know imagine

03:10

if it had taken place in

03:12

LA, it would've ended two pages in [Vampire in front of Hollywood sign explodes]

03:15

To Kill a Mockingbird takes place you know in

03:19

pre-civil rights America and

03:22

we kind of see this tension where Scout like sees what's happening

03:27

and African Americans are treated terribly and she kinda doesn't get it

03:30

but you know we get to see into the heart of

03:33

exactly what was going on before that'll happen.

03:37

Do authors use setting to tell their story?

03:40

The authors writing what they know it maybe comes a little bit more naturally

03:43

and they're not necessarily

03:44

having think about it that hard, if you're writing something

03:47

that is a vampire, dystopian, futuristic whatever [happy vampire and the Terminator in wasteland]

03:52

if you're writing something that you don't know well or something that doesn't exist

03:56

fantasy stories that's when you you have to really become a world builder

04:00

people like Tolkien or JK Rowling [Tolkien holds ring of power while Rowling holds a wand]

04:04

like these people had to create a world from scratch and those are the people

04:09

that have to be very focused on setting.

04:11

Okay, makes a ton of sense.

04:13

What is setting?

04:15

How should we assess the story/setting in its context?

04:20

How does setting convey the author's message?

04:23

Do authors use setting to tell their story?

04:28

"Come with me if you want to live"