The settings of stories add dimension and meaning on top of the plot. As one of the most meaningful aspects of a story, the setting not only reveals the sight, sounds, colors, time and place, but it also leaves room to create the atmosphere in the reader’s imagination. The setting exposes the location, which often unveils the dialect or vernacular for that region where it takes place. Through dialect readers are able to get a true sense of the characters, which often reveals their educational and social class in turn playing a huge role to make a story accurate. Eudora Welty uses detailed setting and dialect to accurately depict the authenticity through several of her short stories.
Setting can easily be argued as the most important of the five elements of writing because through the setting, authors may use the setting as a symbol of the general mood or theme. “In an essay published in the South Atlantic Quarterly in 1956, Eudora Welty declared that place in fiction is just as important as character and plot” (Howell 247).
Because the setting can be so symbolic, readers are needed to key into the hidden meanings behind the setting and apply them in order to decipher a deeper significance. Welty uses the dialect in “The Hitch-Hiker” to show mentality of the stereotypical hitch-hiker. When a middle-class man picks up a man to give him a ride, the hitch-hiker says, “I bet you ain’t got no idea where all I’ve slep’” (Welty 124).
Through this quote, Welty shows that the average hitch-hiker is not one who is well-educated or wealthy; hitch-hikers are known to be poverty-stricken and illiterate.
In the short story "Soldier's Home," by Ernest Hemingway, Kreb's rejection of his community's values can be related to Sammy's relationship to his supermarket job in John Updike's "A & P." Even though the two stories are different in style, one story being more serious and gloomy and the other being more humorous and sarcastic, they both reveal two similar settings, which the main characters ...
Welty believes that the setting holds a great deal of importance to the meaning behind a story. Setting does not only refer to the immediate location of the characters, but it also refers to a larger scope such as the state or country’s location. Knowing the location of a story helps the reader label the characters with an opinion, usually of the general stereotype, even if they are not true.
She is deliberate in her use of regionally distinct and perhaps lays a greater burden on the reader from the outside; but with her devotion to the small and inconsequential in daily life, she is in some respects even closer to the heartbeat of her region (Howell 247).
The reader’s background and attitude effect the interpretation because each reader has a different background and will understand different things out of various stories. Because the response from the reader is not a permanent reaction, through rereading and more experiences, the response may change over time. “Place in fiction is the named, identified, concrete, exact and exacting, and therefore credible, gathering spot of all that has been felt, is about to be experienced, in the novel’s progress” (cite here!).
The authenticity of a story often lies in the setting and dialect the author applies. Eudora Welty is able to accurately portray the plot and characters represented in her short stories.