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Discuss the importance of setting and atmosphere in the novel (I'm the King of the Castle)

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Discuss the importance of setting and atmosphere in the novel The geographical settings and environmental surroundings has major role to play in the story, together, both of them are created by Susan Hill to depict an overall sense of tension constantly in the story. Thus, by creating the suitable settings and places for the events to occur, the atmosphere that she wants to achieve, will be brought out successfully and will thus show the relationship between the atmosphere and the characters in the story and show as an overall, how it has affected the characters and their personalities. Firstly, the period of the novel is in the 1960s but there are few contemporary details to indicate exactly when the story was set. Susan Hill does this deliberately because her main purpose was to create a timeless piece of work, showing that her themes and the suicides of children will be problems that will not cease to exist, even up to today, in fact, the rates of bullying and suicidal cases including children are on the rise. Firstly, Warings is the place where most of the evens occurred in the story. Not only is it isolated from the other houses, is an entirely "graceless" mansion built by the very first Hooper. ...read more.


"There was a tension in the wood, a sense of aliveness and secrecy", as quoted from the book. The stream that Kingshaw found was also symbolical. To him, it was the best feeling in the world and he never wanted to leave it. Hence, readers were not surprised when in the end, he chose to drown himself in the stream as firstly, he can be with the stream forever and secondly, and water is a representation of "baptism" whereby one enters a new phase of life, leaving the "old" life behind. Hence, this setting is greatly important in showing us how Kingshaw has freed himself. In the event of the Lydell Castle, where Hooper is no longer master, Kingshaw is impressively confident, once freed from the inhibiting effect of Warings, the Hoopers and his mother. He is the best climber in his school, and his assured scaling of the castle walls contrasted with Hooper's terror, whom tried to carved his initials on the walls, trying to make the castle his, but to little avail. Hence, we can see that Kingshaw is actually a boy with hope and confidence had he not be restricted to such feelings and be dominated by his fears and terror of Hooper. ...read more.


He was tormented by Hooper, whom ruthlessly manipulated his fears and exploits his weaknesses, making Kingshaw feel vulnerable and to go hysterical by his fears. Kingshaw is sensitive, hating the "deathly" atmosphere in the Red Room. Susan Hill has created these three settings such that they are emotionally overwhelming and totally convincing in every detail. Kingshaw is not only claustrophobic and is trapped with his fears, mentally torturing him. For example, in the shed incident, the squashed insect was particularly unpleasant, evoking the readers' sympathy towards Kingshaw. Susan Hill always put Kingshaw in dark, gloomy, confined spaces that are filled with the presence of death such as moths in the Red Room and "bats" in the shed as torture chambers for Kingshaw himself. This greatly creates the atmosphere of tension and causes fear to build up within Kingshaw and at the same time by letting Hooper "choose" the places to put Kingshaw in, it confirms our belief in Hooper's sadism. All in all, this book is about the contrast of the natural world with man-made environments and how the settings have an impact on each of the individual characters. The setting are placed at the right time, at the right place in the book, achieving the suitable atmosphere and building tension from time to time and is thus, able to successfully display the specific characters of the individuals that Susan Hill wants to convey to the readers. ...read more.

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