What is the setting of the story "Dusk" by Saki?
The bulk of the action in this story takes place on a park bench just to the left of Hyde Park Corner in London. When the characters migrate from this bench, it is only to walk slightly further into the Park. “It was some thirty past six on an early March evening, and dusk had fallen heavy over the scene,” Saki writes – an apt time of day, considering the title of the story. The first paragraph is quite descriptive, and sets a scene buried in the half-light of a waning spring day, when the lines between all things blur:
There was a wide emptiness over road and sidewalk, and yet there were many unconsidered figures moving silently through the half-light, or dotted unobtrusively on bench and chair, scarcely to be distinguished from the shadowed gloom in which they sat.
It is within this setting that Norman Gortsby is sitting idly on his park bench, observing the individuals mentioned above with the very same scrutiny they keep their heads down to avoid. According to Gortsby, “Dusk…was the hour of the defeated.” And Gortsby considers himself among their ranks, though exactly why eludes the reader. So, he seeks solace in this half-empty, half-dark, half-dying time of day, among those strangers he presumes to be of a similar mind to himself.