The Power of Setting, Bridget Jones’ Diary

Lori Devoti talked about setting being the basis to show change in Bridget Jones's Diary

It’s Day Three here at Write by the Lake, and, in addition to enjoying the fresh burst of sun and a hefty meal of East African food prepared by Latino workers, I’m getting ready to head into the post-lunch lecture.

These are a daily workshop feature in which faculty share their thoughts on various writing topics.

Yesterday’s covered endings and scenes, among other topics.

Lori Devoti, a mother of two kids and ten books, made the point that the same setting can be the vehicle to show inner change within a protagonist.

Her example: the memorable Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Lori talked about how the annual turkey curry buffet around the Christmas holidays marked the book’s beginning and end. Whereas the book opens with Bridget unable to recognize the haughty Mark Darcy-Pride and Prejudice, anyone?-by the end, through her journey of at times hilarious humiliation, she has come to see his positive qualities and their mutual attraction, horrible sweaters notwithstanding.

Having listened to Helen Fielding’s novel on tape, I can say comfortably that this was not the major writing technique or lesson I took from the book.  I did enjoy Jones’ endless auto-analysis, her at times self-destructive choices-enter Daniel, the caddish boss-and her ultimately loveable nature.  But Lori’s point works for me.

Time to run, as we’re about to hear about symbolism and imagery.

More tomorrow.


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