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David Lodge Chapter: Sense of Place

In David Lodge’s chapter about the sense of place, the idea of immersing the reader into the environment described by the author is stressed. The fictional effects in a piece of writing are all connected and contribute to each other. Giving explicit detail about the setting and going into sensory detail about it, was a fairly new development in English literature. This development came after the romanticism movement and at this point writers had been describing the setting in a way that you cant visualize. The setting was visualized in order to serve an ideological purpose or to serve an alternative purpose, rather than allowing the reader to make connections to the story by visualizing the surroundings. In Paradise of the Blind the sense of place is used extensively to immerse the reader in Hang’s accounts of the cold wintry Russia, and her reminisces of the vibrant Vietnam.

“The smell of her cheap perfume hung in the room, sticking like glue to the yellowed, peeling walls” (page 11)

  • The narrator goes into explicit detail about the current atmosphere giving the reader a vivid and accurate sense of place

“The house, three main rooms and three outbuildings, was deserted but for her. It was difficult enough to clean it and scrub the floors. On top of that, there was the garden to maintain and defend from an invasion of weeds.” (page 19)

  • In this passage the narrator not only goes into detail, visualizing the setting, but also how the character manipulates it.
  • So the reader is able to visualize the character and how they interact with the environment around them making it more interesting to the reader

“She led us into a vast courtyard covered with tiles, each decorated with a painting of a different aromatic herb” (page 71)

  • With these explicit descriptions the reader is able to easily distinguish between cold and wintry Russia, and the colorful and vibrant Vietnam
  • With the use of sense of place the author is able to fully immerse the reader in the atmosphere and almost feel and see everything the narrator sees

Lodge makes the claim that by giving the reader a sense of the setting and atmosphere explicitly, they are able to make better connections to the story and be more involved. Although this concept is fairly new in regards to modern literature, it was an imperative development that evolved and progressed the course of literature today.


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