Crow Lake - Thematic Development of Setting

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CROW LAKE ESSAY

Every story, every novel and, in fact, every great literary work, shares one thing in common: a setting. These vivid compositions are exquisitely weaved around a place, time and social circumstance. The element of setting is used to create a specific atmosphere, and thus, helping to establish a desired mood. It provides valuable insight into the fundamental background of any storyline. In addition, the setting acts as a profound influence on plot progression and character development by compelling actions, internal and external conflicts, as well as the themes of a novel. Mary Lawson’s Crow Lake, a moving story of family, love and tragedy, is no exception. Lawson effectively develops the themes of isolation, familial bonds and educational ambitions through brilliant usage of the settings: Crow Lake, the ponds, and the university, respectively. First of all, the theme of isolation is introduced and developed through the setting of Crow Lake. Set against the desolate terrain of northern Ontario, Crow Lake is a modest farming settlement that is “... linked to the outside world by one dusty road and the railroad tracks” (Lawson 9). Lawson’s deceivingly simple depiction portrays Crow Lake’s only connection to the rest of the world as meager and dysfunctional; therefore illustrating the undeniable isolation and confinement instilled on the entire community. It is also described as having merely “... a dozen or so farms, a general store, and a few modest houses... ”(Lawson 9) in addition to the church and the school. The lack of businesses and amenities reflect an absence of urbanization, commercialization, industrialization, and technological realization. All of these reinforce Crow Lake to be segregated and disconnected from the rest of society. The theme of isolation is also developed through the individual seclusion of every family in Crow Lake. For example, the Morrisons’ closest neighbours were the Pyes, who lived on a farm a...
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