"Men live and die in particular places and conditions, and their sense of life's meaning, or meaninglessness, derives from their experiences in these places and conditions, and only in these, although its expression will be modified by the language and experience of other men." (Conor Cruise O'Brien). Discuss the role of place and setting in texts on your course.
In order to analyse the role which place and setting can play in novels, I have chosen to study the three following novels: Shelley's "Frankenstein", Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway", and Defoe's "Moll Flanders".
Places and setting play an important role in Shelley's "Frankenstein" as they are what give life to it; places and settings are the reasons of many of the happenings in this novel.
One of the first important setting in Shelley's "Frankenstein is 'The Arctic Circle'. The story of Frankenstein is told at a great distance, both physically and psychologically.
The epistolary novel opens with letters from Robert Walton to his sister in England. Walton is on an exploring expedition to the far north, and his letters are dated from locations farther and farther north, starting with St. Petersburg, Russia, then Archangel, then unspecified locations, as Walton passes into unexplored territory. When his ship is surrounded by fog and ice floes, his crew sees Victor Frankenstein crossing the ice with a dog sled. They rescue him; Frankenstein tells his story. Before he does so, however, Frankenstein indicates that the desire to find the North Pole is as dangerous as his inquiry into unknown scientific regions, asking Walton, "Unhappy man! Do you share my madness?" When Frankenstein's story is complete, he dies. His monstrous creation, after finally forgiving him, flees across the polar sea and out of human knowledge, showing how place, especially place at a distance, plays an important part...