How can one describe in three sentences the setting, characters, and problems of Tom Godwin's short story "The Cold Equations"?

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To complete the above assignment, one would use the first sentence to explain the setting of Tom Godwin's short story "The Cold Equations ." Setting is the backdrop of a story. It includes the "social conditions, historical time, geographical locations, weather, immediate surroundings, and timing" of a story...

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To complete the above assignment, one would use the first sentence to explain the setting of Tom Godwin's short story "The Cold Equations." Setting is the backdrop of a story. It includes the "social conditions, historical time, geographical locations, weather, immediate surroundings, and timing" of a story ("Setting," Literary Devices). Within the first four paragraphs of the story (two full paragraphs), we learn the immediate surrounding in which the story takes place is some sort of EDS ship. By the fifth paragraph, Godwin's narrator refers to "Paragraph L, Section 8, of Interstellar Regulations," and upon reading the word interstellar, the reader begins to suspect the general location of the setting is in outer space. The reader's suspicions are confirmed in the seventh paragraph (third full paragraph), when the narrator uses such words as "Galactic expansion," "hyperspace drive," and "huge hyperspace cruisers." In the next paragraph, we learn the protagonist of the story is a pilot of an Emergency Dispatch Ship (EDS). Due to the nature of the story, the reader can also deduce that the story is set during some futuristic time period. If we were to explain all of these details in one sentence, it might look like the following:

Tom Godwin's futuristic science fiction short story "The Cold Calculations" is set in outer space on a small spacecraft called an Emergency Dispatch Ship, or EDS.

One would use the second sentence to explain who the characters in the story are. We are introduced to the protagonist of the story within the first few paragraphs. By the middle of the fourth page, readers learn his name is Barton when he radios to speak with Commander Delhart. The antagonist of any story is a character who is at odds with the protagonist; the protagonist overcomes the central conflict of the story by battling with the antagonist. Though she is just an innocent teenage girl, the stowaway creates the internal conflict within Barton; therefore, the stowaway is the antagonist of the story. We learn her name is Marilyn Lee Cross on page 6, when pilot Barton asks her for her identification disk. A final character of lesser importance in the story is Gerry Cross, Marilyn's brother. If we were to explain the above in one sentence, it might look like this:

The main characters of the story are the protagonist, pilot Barton, the antagonist, Marilyn Lee Cross, and the two minor characters Commander Delhart and Marilyn's brother Gerry Cross.

One would use the third sentence of the assignment to name the problems in the story, otherwise called conflicts. As mentioned earlier, the central conflict in the story is an internal conflict within Barton. Barton knows he must execute Marilyn by jettisoning her from the ship to ensure he is able to save the lives he has been sent to save on an emergency mission, but he is reluctant to kill her since she is just a naive teenage girl. The second conflict is an external conflict between Marilyn and her environment or Marilyn and her fate.

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