Setting in American Literature

Setting has the ability to represent not only a character’s geographical location, but also their mental state on their journey. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the physical setting of the dangerous woods is used to represent Brown’s internal struggle coming to terms with the actions of his ancestors and his present spiritual beliefs. In The Awakening the setting of the ocean is also used to represents Edna’s newfound sense of freedom derived from her ‘awakening’. Finally, in The Sun Also Rises the European setting reflects the characters’ attempts to distance themselves from what they perceive to be artificial American values.

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