What is the setting of the story "The Nightingale and The Rose" by Oscar Wilde?

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mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Wilde's story has three settings: the student's garden, the doorway of his professor's house, and the student's room. Almost all of the story occurs in the garden, a place of quiet beauty. In the sunny garden are groves of trees, individual trees that play roles in the story, and a sundial. Also present are flowers, butterflies, and a small green lizard. Part of the story takes place at night, and the moon becomes part of the setting.

In the conclusion of the story, the student runs to see the girl he loves at her father's (his professor's) house. He finds her sitting in the doorway, her little dog at her feet. The only physical description of this setting is a reference to a gutter. The story ends in the student's room, which is not described, where he reads from "a great dusty book."

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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"The Nightingale and The Rose" by Oscar Wilde is written in the style of a fairy tale or folk tale, meaning that it does not take place in an actual place but instead the setting and the characters are generic types. This means that we are intended to focus on the dynamics of the narrative itself and its moral and philosophical implications rather than on the characters as individuals or the settings as realistic places. 

The first section of the story is set in a garden where the student is searching for a red rose. He does not find one, but the nightingale overhears him and decides to help him. The nightingales flies around the garden and grove visiting their denizens. The student sleeps in his bedroom. The student next goes to the Professor's house where the rose is rejected, then he walks through a street, and returns to his room. 


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