32 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Gold Bug

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1843

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Literary Devices


The setting is the time and place in which the events of the story take place. As a literary device, the author can use the setting to craft specific details and convey aspects of mood. Poe provides a distinct setting for his short story in Sullivan’s island, which he describes in detail:

This Island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than the sea sand, and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the mainland by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh-hen. The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant, or at least dwarfish (7).

Islands have come to be associated in popular culture with treasure, but they have always held connotations of isolation and mystery in literature. Separated from the norms of a mainland or kingdom, islands’ geographical locations and boundaries can be used to shape the action of plots. Islands are transgressive spaces where the rules can be broken, so they are the perfect place for a magical adventure or the concealment of a chilling crime.