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Setting To Create Mood

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Setting to create mood

It is a dark and stormy night. There is no sign of life except for the occasional chirp of a cricket or the rare flutter of a nocturnal bird. Black clouds have covered the moon's glow, and only a rusted streetlamp provides any source of light for the fear-stricken residents of Mystery Lane. This image generates a setting that produces fear and anxiety in the readers mind. It helps create a mood in the situation, which allows the author to express his/her true view of the scene. In fictional literature, mood is essential for a scene to feel real. This mood is created by the setting in which the situation takes place. Setting allows the author to use physical surroundings and time to portray his/her feelings toward the particular scene. For instance, weather can be a useful tool when creating a setting. Rain or clouds could be used to create a sense of anger or darkness, whereas sunlight or warmth could be used to create happiness or joy. Once the mood is created, the main purpose of the scene is easier to understand making it much easier to interpret the novel as a whole. In the novels Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Scarlet Song, the authors use setting to create the mood in various situations.

In the Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Garcia Marquez abundantly generates moods through numerous scenes. Towards the beginning of the book, when the bishop arrives, "people were too excited with the bishop's visit to worry about any other news" (Marquez 23). This description produces a frantic and energetic mood. It shows how animated everyone is about the fact that the bishop is coming to town. However, when Marquez describes Santiago at the same place and time, he creates a sense of loneliness and death. He does this by first introducing "the two men who were waiting for Santiago Nasar in order to kill him. Clotilde Armenta, the proprietress of the establishment, was the first to see him in the glow of dawn, and she had the impression that he was dressed in aluminum. 'He already looked like a ghost,' she told me" (Marquez 15-16). He produces the mood by Clotilde's description of Santiago. The word ghost creates a deathly mood and gives the reader the feeling that Santiago is alone because ghosts are known to be restless creatures that walk the earth for all eternity. In order to create these various settings, Marquez uses strong visual imagery. For example, Marquez creates the feeling of calm and blissful darkness when Santiago and his friends are singing under Bayardo's window. Santiago is outside Bayardo's house where "the moon was high in the sky and the air was clear, and at the bottom of the precipice you could see the trickle of light from the Saint Elmo's fire in the cemetery. On the other side you could make out the groves of blue banana trees in the moonlight, and the phosphorescent line of the Caribbean on the horizon" (Marquez 77). The clear and moonlit sky generates a sense of calmness whereas the fire depicts a situation full of peace and harmony.

Mariama Ba constantly uses setting to create mood as well. In one situation she depicts Ousmane's home with "ragged children huddled in groups or standing alone, shivering in the November cold; their tear-filled eyes and face ravaged with hunger tugged at the heart-strings of the passers-by" (Ba 5). The shivering children form a picture of poverty, while their tear-filled eyes and ravaged faces show their desire for food, which Ousmane is determined to escape from. In another scene, Mariama describes Mirelle's taste in decorations and how she prefers to display her house. She preferred beautiful objects and "indulged herself on fitted carpets and wallpaper. She did not stint on the furnishing of her bedroom. In the sitting room the dominant color was orange. Thick rugs, comfortable armchairs, lamp shades everywhere, original paintings which she had brought with her from France" (Ba 82). The color orange and the lampshades create a sense of brightness, whereas the whole quote generates a feeling of richness and elegancy. Unlike Mariama, Marquez continuously creates a mood for a scene that is not especially significant to the story. For instance Marquez describes the Vicario family's house as "a modest house with brick walls and a palm roof, topped by two attics where in January swallows got into breed. In front it had a terrace almost completely covered with flowerpots, and a large yard with hens running loose and with fruit trees" (Marquez 44). Although it is the house where the wedding takes place, the reader does not gain any important information that enhances his/her understanding of the story, and creates a mood for a situation that never takes place. Yet Mariama Ba's novel has some abnormalities as well. At times Ba rushes into the story and as well as the setting, which forces the reader to abruptly adapt to the change of mood in the story. For example, in the end of Scarlet Song, Mirelle is miserably reading the love letter Ousmane had once written to her, where "the meretricious words of love jolted her mental distress. The



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