Geography is Everything

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El 266

"And we feel that those novels and stories couldn't be set anywhere but where they are, that those characters couldn't say the things they say if they were uprooted and planted in, say, Minnesota or Scotland." (Foster 164)

If writers didn't have a specific place in mind when creating their stories, we would all be in trouble. Some stories simply have to be set in a particular location.

Take the Lord of the Rings for example. If these characters were placed anywhere else other than Middle Earth, the whole plot just wouldn't make sense. JRR Tolkien created the perfect place for them in this regard. The Shire is the perfect serene, small spot for Hobbits, while Mordor gives that suspenseful, dangerous feeling. Rivendell is truly one of a kind and would not make sense in a place like Pennsylvania or India.  In fact, I think the whole meaning of the story would change if it were set somewhere else. Each place has certain significance, or else the writer would not have created it that way.

Also, I think that I attach certain characteristics to characters from a certain place. With the Elves in LOTR, I know they are from Rivendell, and that gives them a certain majestic, ethereal feel. The Hobbits are a more down-home character, and I think the earthen homes and family oriented society help to shape the way we look at them.

So yes, location is key to any story. It shapes characters and gives readers something more to identify with.


I couldn't agree more :)

Jennifer Prex said:

I couldn't even imagine LOTR taking place anywhere other than Middle-earth. You're right. It just wouldn't work. The setting is crucial.

Kayla Lesko said:

Anyone, even people who don't like reading, have to admire Tolkien for his amount of detail.

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