What is the setting of "A Soldier's Embrace"? What is the tone?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of this short story is in an unspecified postcolonial African country where independence has just been won. The first scene recalls the moment the war for independence has been won and a ceasefire has been signed. Note how the opening paragraph sets the scene and describes the setting of this story:

Peasant boys from Europe who had made up the colonial army and freedom fighters whose column had marched into town were staggering about together outside the barracks, not three blocks from her house in whose rooms, for ten years, she had heard the blurred parade-ground bellow of colonial troops being trained to kill and be killed.

The setting of this story is significant because of the postcolonial realities of the story. Note the makeup of this country, which is formed from the indigenous inhabitants that have just successfully won independence and then also the white Europeans who have formed the colonial administration that had power for so long. The resulting tensions between the new rulers and the old rulers create the conflict of this story, where the protagonist and her husband are trapped in a country that had been their home but now is turning into a country that is foreign to them. The resulting conflict is only resolved when they decide eventually to move to a different country, leaving "home" that the story indicates has already been lost to them.

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A Soldier's Embrace

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