Setting is an integral part of a story as it draws the readers into a world which in turn develops their understanding of their own. Setting can establish the mood and atmosphere of a story and hence largely influences the human experience of characters in the novel. Through setting in prose fiction such as Nineteen-Eight-Four written by George Orwell, the readers are able to view the world and challenge their pre-existing beliefs. Setting in prose fiction novels is largely shaped by the human experiences of isolation, fear and freedom shown throughout the novels. Furthermore, through exploring these human experience present in prose fiction, readers are able to explicitly highlight how isolation, fear and freedom is shaped through setting in prose fiction.
Isolation portrayed in prose fiction has been shaped by the use of setting depicting the world as ominous and gloomy, a world that is controlled by a totalitarian government. In the prose fiction novel, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Winston the protagonist, is isolated to the fact that the world is gloomy and ominous where it suggests there are no human connections and interactions. Winston’s isolation is explored through the quote, “even though the shut window-pane, the world looked cold”. The word ‘cold’ refers to a world in which there is no humanity and civilisation. This restricts characters in the novel to speak freely and interact with others. This evokes a sense of isolation and separation from the world around him. While another example is when Orwell describes the nature of Winston’s work and which in turn highlight how this can depict isolation in the novel. This is shown through the quote, “In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices…”. The word ‘cubicle’ suggests an enclosed workspace where no social interaction was allowed between employees. This emphasises how setting can impact on the characters in prose fiction and ultimately resulting in isolation present in the characters. Through setting, the readers can comprehend and realise how prose fiction novels like Nineteen-Eight-Four largely influence how characters respond in their world ultimately resulting in isolation.
Fear is a prominent human experience faced by characters in prose fiction novels. It is though surveillance and technology that fear starts to take over the characters. It allows the totalitarian government to control the citizen essentially making them fear them. It is seen through the quotes from Nineteen-Eighty-Four, “on each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall… the eyes followed you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”. This suggests a sense of fear and no opportunity for warmth and affliction. As Winston walks, he sees the posters plastered everywhere which implies there is no privacy and they are perpetually monitored. The characters are made to feel enclosed and subservient, hence evokes a sense of fear throughout the citizens in the society that they live in. Furthermore, Orwell explores the world in which Winston fears. This is specifically conveyed within Winston’s imagined future in, “a world of… monstrous machines and terrifying weapons… three hundred million people all with the same face”. The use of cumulative listing suggests that he fears the future world in which there will be war and technology used for defence. Therefore, through the setting shown throughout Nineteen-Eighty-Four, the prominent theme of fear is present in prose fiction novels and is largely influenced by the setting around the characters.
Freedom is shaped through the setting shown in prose fiction specifically Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell. This is seen through Winston and Julia’s relationship. In contrast to the reality of their world of Oceania in which people are restricted and confined, they feel free and unrestrained. While in Mr Charringtons shop, Orwell explores the independence and free thought through the quote, “a man and women with no clothes on, making love when they chose, talking of what they chose”. The repetition of ‘chose’ suggests they do not have anything to fear or be afraid of, they felt free. However, this is juxtaposed by the fact that they live in a world in which they are restricted and governed by the government and ultimately not allowed to think for their own. Setting largely influences their freedom and relationship because in the world they live in, they are constantly being watched and not allowed to interact physically and socially with others. However, when they go to a room with a different setting in which they are not monitored, they are made to feel free and limitless. They let go of their thought and have that intimate relationship they needed in their world of Oceania. Therefore, the human experience of freedom is typically shaped by different type of setting present in the novel.
Furthermore, through the use of setting present in prose fiction, specifically Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the human experience of isolation, fear and freedom are fundamentally influenced by setting described in prose fiction novels.