How does setting contribute to theme?

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In John Cheever's short story "The Five-Forty-Eight," the setting mirrors the actions of the story in many ways. The setting of the city also enhances the loneliness of the woman and the cold, emotional distance of Blake.

The theme, as a literary element, is open to interpretation, but authors use tools to develop the theme or underlying message of the story. Authors develop theme through the thoughts, actions, and appearance of the characters, the setting, and the plot.

The story unfolds during Blake's normal commute from his office in New York to his home in the suburbs. This normal, everyday event adds depth to the characters, as we see through Blake's actions that he is a cold and selfish man who has little regard for others. We see Miss Dent's character as lonely and desperate. She longs only for a little love, and, denied even basic human kindness by Blake, sets her mind to make him look at her, acknowledge her, and see that she does matter.

The story takes place during a rainstorm,...

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