Jailene Adorno ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Many times when readers become engrossed in a book or story, they tend to picture themselves as certain characters living in different settings or worlds. Other times, they’ll read a book and find it really interesting, but would not want to be in that particular setting at all! Here is a list of literary settings in which you would not want to live in:
10. The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Although the story is set in Boston, it’s set in 17th century Puritan Boston, a time in which no one would want to live. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne commits adultery and is deemed a sinner and forced to wear a scarlet “A” on all of her clothing. Wearing a scarlet letter as a punishment is pretty ridiculous. Why should women in that time be punished for committing this kind of “sin” when men get off scot-free?
9. The Maze Runner (James Dashner)
The Maze Runner takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. After being brought to a place called the Glade, Thomas (the protagonist) forms a community with the boys who were already there before him. In order to get out, they have to solve a maze. The boys in the Glade had been trying to solve the maze for years but to no avail. This dizzying, post-apocalyptic world is enough to make just about anyone go crazy.
8. Inferno (Dante Alighieri)
In Dante’s Inferno, he goes on a journey through hell with Virgil, often seeing different people throughout history. Hell is categorized into different circles for the different sins that people have committed. Those in hell then stay in their circle forever, doing the same things and seeing the same people. They aren’t moving forward or discovering anything new about themselves or the world.
7. Divergent (Veronica Roth)
Divergent is another book set in a post-apocalyptic world, but instead of being stuck in a maze, people are separated into factions based on their personalities. That doesn’t sound too bad, unless you’re Beatrice Prior and you’re a Divergent, meaning that you belong to three different factions. Beatrice must choose which faction in which she wants to be. As if that weren’t rough enough, once she chooses her faction, she has to compete with others so that she doesn’t become factionless.
6. To Build a Fire (Jack London)
In this short story, a man travels along the Yukon Trail to meet “the boys.” Nothing off-putting about that until you factor in the weather. The man decided to make his journey on one of the coldest, if not the coldest, days of winter. Instead of heading back home or figuring out a different way to get to the boys, he suffers through the unbearable cold.
5. The Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
After a plane crashes on a desert island, the only survivors are a few young boys. As the book progresses, the boys fight to survive and end up being really cruel to each other, becoming complete savages. While there seems to be no way off of the island and no one to reprimand them for their behavior, they treat their lives as if they’re games to play and instead of helping each other to survive. They’re all against each other.
4. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
While Pi is aboard a ship that transports animals, there’s a terrible storm from which he escapes on a lifeboat. After getting on the lifeboat, he realizes that there are several animals with him. As the animals eat each other right before him, a hidden tiger makes itself known and eats the last animal. Pi and the tiger are left adrift in the middle of the ocean, and he becomes somewhat delirious.
3. The Most Dangerous Game (Richard Connell)
In this short story, Rainsford and his friend Whitney travel to Rio de Janeiro to hunt jaguars. In the process, Rainsford comes across the General, who hunts for fun. The General tells Rainsford that after hunting all kinds of animals, he became bored and decided to start hunting people instead. Rainsford refuses to be hunted until the General gives him the choice of either being hunted or whipped to death.
2. The Lottery (Shirley Jackson)
In this short story in a different world, the people of a particular town follow in the tradition of an annual lottery. But this lottery doesn’t include a cash prize, or any prize for that matter. Instead, “winners” of the lottery are stoned to death.
1. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
In a post-apocalyptic world in a nation known as Panem, there is an annual lottery known as the Hunger Games. In the games, twelve youths between the ages of twelve and eighteen battle to their deaths until there is one standing. These games test your endurance and your ability to adapt to any situation, as the people in charge of the games have the capability of changing the scenes before the players.
And there you have it – whether it’s a deserted island with a bunch of young boys-turned-savages or a post-apocalyptic world that makes you compete to the death, these literary settings are less than ideal. Readers would most likely rather be at Hogwarts or in Narnia.