Time and Place
Setting is usually one of the first things noted by the reader. It sets up the story and tells the reader many different things, such as where the characters are and what time of year it is. But the setting can do more than just tell where and when the story is, it can further the plot and even help add to the characteristics of some of the characters. This can be seen in Sir Gawain and
the Green Knight. In this story the setting helps to subtly add to the characteristics of the knights and also helps to set up some metaphors and symbols throughout the story.
The tale of sir Gawain and the green knight begins at Christmas time with all the knights celebrating the yule tide with a feast. This Christmas setting evokes the image of purity and cleanliness which translates on to Arthur's knights. This setting allows the reader to quickly make a judgment about the knights in that they are good and holy. This is important because even before anything is mentioned about the characters in the text the reader is already partial to them.
When Gawain embarks on his journey he is taken far out into the forests of Britain on his way to Whales. Here he encounters beasts and animals that he has to fight off. This deep forest location symbolizes nature and the chaos presented in it. This travel to Whales also symbolizes the spiritual journey of the time period. During this era Christianity is taking over as the accepted religion. Previously paganism was more wide spread and practiced. This religious transition can be seen in the setting when Gawain is traveling out of Britain to whales where there is more nature and less order and civilization. This use of setting is important because it provides a background for the story that adds depth to the tale.
Both of these examples use setting...