A place can be suggestive of causal links and give meaning to behaviours. If in a story one character drives up to another character and gives that character their car, then walks off, the exchange may seem nonsensical out of context. However, if this occurs within an automechanic's garage, then it is understood that the motivation of the one character is the desire to have their car serviced, and the motivation of the other character is a desire to be paid for rendering services. Therefore, stories told within the garage will be unified through their context.
Place can also help further the representation of the theme by the nature of the space and the objects chosen to fill that space. If the theme is the apparent fragility and yet reparability of the human heart, then perhaps the story might be set in a nursery that specialises in bonsai. The bonsais are fragile, but a broken branch when carefully set, can grow back into place and become a stronger limb. The space might even provide clues as to time period if it is traversed non-chronologically. The audience may be given to know that they are currently placed in a flash back, because the old tree that sits outside of the shop of today, within the current scene is just a sapling.
Copyright 1999 Katherine Phelps