The Importance of Setting
Two short stories from the text Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing show readers the importance of setting. “A Worn Path” is a short story that was written in 1940 by Eudora Welty, and it takes its place in Mississippi. “Hills Like White Elephants” is a title of short story that was written in 1927 by Ernest Hemingway, and it takes its place in Barcelona, Spain. The setting of each story helps readers to understand a theme or underlying idea.
The story, “A Worn Path” shows us the significance of the setting and how life was in Mississippi during that time. The life in Mississippi was horrible because the story shows us how hard it is for a woman to go from a country place to a town. The path between the country and the town was so rough and difficult and the time was winter, so the ground was frozen: “It was December-a bright frozen day in the early morning. Far out in the country there was an old Negro woman with her head tied in a red rag, coming along a path through the pinewoods” (333). Wild animals were also near Phoenix’s hard and long path to town. Old Phoenix said, “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons and wild animals! ... Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites … Keep the big wild hogs out of my path. Don’t let none of those come running my direction. I got a long way” (333). Her old age and her black color were some of the reasons that made some obstacles in her setting. Her health was also a major obstacle in her path. Another story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” shows us the significance of the setting. The story is set in Spain at a train station to concern a decision in a relationship between the American man and the girl. The station is not their final destination, but they must decide where to go, whether they will go together and continue in their relationship or just break up and go in separate ways. The story explains the hills and the whole place as: The hills...
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