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The setting of a story is the basic location of events, while the theme is the overall message of the story. If the theme deals with elements of darkness, a cheerful, sunny location isn't likely to be appropriate. For instance, Edgar Allan Poe's works usually deal with the darker side of humanity; his stories are usually set at night or in stormy weather. The same could be said for novels like Frankenstein. Stories that deal with lighter subjects tend to have brighter, happier settings. Look at most fairy tales. Of course, fairy tales are also a good example of how the change in a setting can help us see the theme. A princess locked in a dark tower rescued by a prince and taken to a bright, gleaming palace helps us see the message of the story.
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