Cultural Context in a Text

“Cultural Context,” refers to the world in which the chosen text (be it a book, film or play) takes place. This cultural setting could be very true to life and mirror the real world (which can be called mimesis), or can be absolutely fantastical.

Social setting can have huge impact on the narrative of the story. As well as providing an interesting backdrop for the text, culture can shape characters and determine plots. For example, a social satire such as “Pride and Prejudice” (I keep coming back to this as it’s the best well-know example I can find) would be a completely different story if set in present day, as the hierarchial system which the book’s plot revolves around is dependant on the culture of the 18th Century, which no longer exists.

Likewise, for books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” The entire plot revolves around a specific cultural characteristic: discrimination. In these cases, cultural context creates the story. In books and films such as The Harry Potter Series and The Star Wars Saga, the cultural context again makes the story, or at least makes it more interesting (with magic and space travel).

Cultural Context can also make a novel, film or play more realistic. By mirroring life closely, and by studying and adhering to probable social reactions to events in the text, writers can make their works more realistic and immersed in the world they are set in.

As a final note, apologies to everyone who’s subscribed to this blog and just accidentally received an incomplete version of this post without a title… oops!


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