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Setting Black and Blue. Setting - Time Published in 1997 Published in 1997 Just as Scotland was being promised its own government Just as Scotland was.

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Presentation on theme: "Setting Black and Blue. Setting - Time Published in 1997 Published in 1997 Just as Scotland was being promised its own government Just as Scotland was."— Presentation transcript:

1 Setting Black and Blue

2 Setting - Time Published in 1997 Published in 1997 Just as Scotland was being promised its own government Just as Scotland was being promised its own government The Conservative government which had been in place for 15 years was nearing its end The Conservative government which had been in place for 15 years was nearing its end Covers various places in Scotland – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Shetland Covers various places in Scotland – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Shetland This is because it is a ‘state of the nation novel’ This is because it is a ‘state of the nation novel’

3 Setting in place is used to great effect in the novel: Setting in place is used to great effect in the novel: It creates atmosphere It creates atmosphere It reflects and shapes character It reflects and shapes character It conveys theme It conveys theme

4 Atmosphere An example of this is the scene of McLure’s death: An example of this is the scene of McLure’s death: “The weather was forecast for sunshine and showers...Brisk black clouds, shafts of sunlight, blue skies, then clouds gathering again. At one point, it started raining when there didn’t seem to be a cloud in the sky.” (127) “The weather was forecast for sunshine and showers...Brisk black clouds, shafts of sunlight, blue skies, then clouds gathering again. At one point, it started raining when there didn’t seem to be a cloud in the sky.” (127) “The wooden walkway where McLure’s body had lain had been blown dry by the wind, leaving nothing to indicate that a death had occurred so recently.” (p138) “The wooden walkway where McLure’s body had lain had been blown dry by the wind, leaving nothing to indicate that a death had occurred so recently.” (p138) It seems desolate and isolated It seems desolate and isolated The world seems disinterested in his death The world seems disinterested in his death The oil rig becomes a source of fear in Rebus’s dream (279) The oil rig becomes a source of fear in Rebus’s dream (279)

5 Character

6 Alan Mitchison’s Flat On page 23 Mitchison’s flat is described as “solitary” and “bare” On page 23 Mitchison’s flat is described as “solitary” and “bare” Although it contains expensive, new equipment it does not seem like a home Although it contains expensive, new equipment it does not seem like a home Mitchison does not seem to belong anywhere and is a lonely figure Mitchison does not seem to belong anywhere and is a lonely figure

7 Rebus’s Flat Rebus’s flat illustrates his loneliness and the emptiness of his life: “There was music, and there were books, but neither in great quantity nor of great quality. The clothes were utilitarian, one jacket much like another. No shoes. He found that bizarre in the extreme. Did the man possess only one pair?” (361) Rebus’s flat illustrates his loneliness and the emptiness of his life: “There was music, and there were books, but neither in great quantity nor of great quality. The clothes were utilitarian, one jacket much like another. No shoes. He found that bizarre in the extreme. Did the man possess only one pair?” (361) Redecorating the flat coincides with an improvement in Rebus’s mood Redecorating the flat coincides with an improvement in Rebus’s mood Understandably Rebus wants to escape from this, hence “Sometimes he drove all night.” (p13) Understandably Rebus wants to escape from this, hence “Sometimes he drove all night.” (p13) He also seeks refuge in pubs, particularly the Oxford Bar where the optics seem “quietly hypnotic” (41) He also seeks refuge in pubs, particularly the Oxford Bar where the optics seem “quietly hypnotic” (41)

8 Craigmillar Rebus compares Craigmillar to “purgatory” Rebus compares Craigmillar to “purgatory” And calls the station Fort Apache – Wild West reference And calls the station Fort Apache – Wild West reference It reflects his depressed mood: “a low- built, dour-faced building” It reflects his depressed mood: “a low- built, dour-faced building” It seems to trap Rebus: “a mob could cut it off from civilisation with ease.” (p6) It seems to trap Rebus: “a mob could cut it off from civilisation with ease.” (p6)

9 The housing estates of Edinburgh Craigmillar is just one place which seems to trap its residents in a cycle of poverty and crime: Craigmillar is just one place which seems to trap its residents in a cycle of poverty and crime: Niddre, Craigmillar, Wester Hailes, Muirhouse, Pilton, Granton… They all seemed to him like some horrible experiment in social engineering: scientists in white coats sticking families down in this maze or that, seeing what would happen, how strong they’d have to become to cope, whether or not they’d find the exit… (P106) Setting not only reflects character but makes the characters who they are Setting not only reflects character but makes the characters who they are

10 Edinburgh Referred to as ‘Empty Capital’ Referred to as ‘Empty Capital’ “It cost a fortune to live in Edinburgh these days. It could cost you everything you had.” (p13) – the city seems to be at least partly responsible for Rebus’s depression and loneliness “It cost a fortune to live in Edinburgh these days. It could cost you everything you had.” (p13) – the city seems to be at least partly responsible for Rebus’s depression and loneliness Mitchison seems lonely there too: “He didn’t have many pals left in Edinburgh.” (15) Mitchison seems lonely there too: “He didn’t have many pals left in Edinburgh.” (15) But Edinburgh is home to Rebus: “It amused him that he could sell up and be suddenly rich…except, of course, that he’d have nowhere to live…He realised he was just about as trapped as anyone in Niddrie or Craigmillar, nicer model trap, that was all.” (106) But Edinburgh is home to Rebus: “It amused him that he could sell up and be suddenly rich…except, of course, that he’d have nowhere to live…He realised he was just about as trapped as anyone in Niddrie or Craigmillar, nicer model trap, that was all.” (106)

11 Theme

12 Glasgow Bible John comments on Glasgow Bible John comments on Glasgow “In the late Sixties, it had been reinventing itself: knocking down old slums, building their concrete equivalents on the outskirts. New roads, bridges, motorways – the pace had been an enormous building site. He got the feeling the process was still ongoing, as if the city still hadn’t acquired an identity it could be comfortable with.” (57) “In the late Sixties, it had been reinventing itself: knocking down old slums, building their concrete equivalents on the outskirts. New roads, bridges, motorways – the pace had been an enormous building site. He got the feeling the process was still ongoing, as if the city still hadn’t acquired an identity it could be comfortable with.” (57) Like several character in the novel – Bible John, Johnny Bible, Joanna Bruce – the city itself seems to be looking for a new identity Like several character in the novel – Bible John, Johnny Bible, Joanna Bruce – the city itself seems to be looking for a new identity

13 To Bible John Glasgow embodies a mixture of violence and endeavour: To Bible John Glasgow embodies a mixture of violence and endeavour: “He remembered the city of his youth, stories of razor gangs and bare-knuckle bouts. Glasgow had a violent history, but that didn’t tell the full story. It could be a beautiful city, too, a city for photographers and artists.” (296) “He remembered the city of his youth, stories of razor gangs and bare-knuckle bouts. Glasgow had a violent history, but that didn’t tell the full story. It could be a beautiful city, too, a city for photographers and artists.” (296)

14 Rebus, though, simply seems uncomfortable in Glasgow: Rebus, though, simply seems uncomfortable in Glasgow: He calls it “Raintown” which is “dreich” He calls it “Raintown” which is “dreich” it is a “maze” where he gets lost it is a “maze” where he gets lost Later he reflects that “Glasgow was built to monumental scale, making the capital seem like Toytown.” (83) Later he reflects that “Glasgow was built to monumental scale, making the capital seem like Toytown.” (83) It is an intimidating setting It is an intimidating setting

15 Aberdeen Aberdeen like Glasgow is full of contradictions. Aberdeen like Glasgow is full of contradictions. It too seems to be searching for an identity It too seems to be searching for an identity “For all the associations with granite, Aberdeen had a feeling of impermanence. These days it owed almost everything it had to oil, and the oil wouldn’t be there for ever… “ (p163) The reality is less like a mythical land of gold and more like the Wild West: “initial stories of Eldorado turned into tales from the darkside: brothels, blood-baths, drunken brawls” The reality is less like a mythical land of gold and more like the Wild West: “initial stories of Eldorado turned into tales from the darkside: brothels, blood-baths, drunken brawls”

16 It seems to settle for a mixture of respectability and corruption: It seems to settle for a mixture of respectability and corruption: “somewhere in the middle, between Hell and Eldorado” (164) “somewhere in the middle, between Hell and Eldorado” (164)

17 The oil fields Shetland too is a contradiction. Most of it seems like “Miles and miles of bugger all” (212) Shetland too is a contradiction. Most of it seems like “Miles and miles of bugger all” (212) The Sullom Voe refinery is “like a sci-fi city transported to prehistory” (214) The Sullom Voe refinery is “like a sci-fi city transported to prehistory” (214) Progress moves so fast it creates another contrast in the novel: Progress moves so fast it creates another contrast in the novel: Progress and unspoiled coutryside, rich and poor, respectable and corrupt, right and wrong, good and evil all coexist Progress and unspoiled coutryside, rich and poor, respectable and corrupt, right and wrong, good and evil all coexist


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