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The Power of Setting: Los Angeles as a Character in “A Native’s Tongue”

The Power of Setting: Los Angeles as a Character in "A Native's Tongue"

This blog will explore how the city of Los Angeles, as a character, plays a vital role in the book, shaping the characters and their experiences. Michael D. Dennis in his writings, has portrayed Los Angeles city as a character that goes a long way in shaping the plot and story of the book and how the events unfold. It would be right to suggest that the city not only serves as a character in the book but also influences the characters of the story in its entirety. This is ensured through the experiences the characters come across in the city.

In the book, the city of Los Angeles city is not merely used as a setting. Los Angeles influences the character and their way of life and thinking. It serves to develop their character and is the main catalyst that enforces the character development of all the main characters, from Charles Winters to Violet and Jennifer. In this regard, these major character’s lives are influenced a great deal by the social and cultural norms of the city and the experiences they face while living here.

A character that offers escape from an unexciting life but one still mired in conflicts

The book also focuses on the endless possibilities that the city offers to people settling here. In a way, Los Angeles offers respite and a means of escape to people who are tired of a hectic but mundane life. From being a means of escape from the harsh realities of life to a life full of glitz and glamour, the book goes a long way in establishing the city as a character that offers great hope and a path to opportunities.

Los Angeles as a character is enticing but full of conflicts at the same time

There is a huge contrast in life when it comes to living in Los Angeles as compared to living elsewhere. Conflicts also accompany this contrast. The main characters are made to go through events that make them learn how contrasting the city’s landscape is for the people. It also shows the conflicts the characters have to bear.

The city, on its own, is a place full of glamour. However, that comes with the struggles people face in the society. Winters’ life is no different as compared to the city’s character. It, too, faces contrast and conflict in the sense that he finds himself grappling for a settled life amidst two women, Violet and Jennifer.

A character offering hope and the possibility of realizing your dreams

The city as a character highlights many symbolism to the readers. The most visible symbol that readers can sense in the book is one of possibility. You can see right from the onset that the main character, Charles Winters, views the city as a place that offers numerous possibilities. The other characters feel the same way. True to its character, Los Angeles is the city of dreams where a person can not only dream but also realize it.

Just as portrayed by mainstream media, the city stands for its destructive tendencies

The book also engages the readers by highlighting the city as a character with its destructive tendencies that shape the lives of the characters in the story. From sex to drugs and various conflicts, the story is a reminder of the struggles a person is exposed to in a fast-tracked life.

The lifestyle of a city like Los Angeles not only makes a person’s life challenging but also exposes it to many dangers. 

The challenges and conflicts that Charles Winters, Jennifer and Violet face also serve to unleash a plot that feels destructive in nature. The concept of a destructive life, destructive events and destructive relationships prevail in the story despite the fact that Los Angeles attracts people towards it.

The city as a character is full of chaos, just like the protagonist’s turbulent relationship

The city can be classified as representing the perfect chaos that is synonymous with urban life. It also holds a strong comparison with the main character’s turbulent relationship with one of the women in his life, Violet. The relationship the protagonist enjoys with Violet, who is an elder woman, represents chaos. This harsh relationship can in many ways, be compared to the harsh life people may have to endure in Los Angeles. This relationship, just like Los Angeles, is mired in chaos and proves stressful for Charles Winters.

Los Angeles is a city with many opportunities, but at the same time, any wrong choice may lead to life turning upside down. Similarly, Charles Winters’ choice of being in a relationship with Violet before he finds Jennifer represents a wrong choice that causes harm to him. It also reflects the struggles a person goes through in a turbulent relationship that causes much emotional suffering.

Los Angeles sets the stage for the robust character development of the characters

The city sets the stage where the characters encounter harsh experiences as the plot unfolds. These experiences serve to bring changes in the lives of the characters and ensure a strong change in their behaviour and mindset. This serves to boost their personal growth by making them more resilient and mature. The challenges and conflicts that the main characters are made to face compel them to make complex and difficult decisions, thereby changing their attitudes for the future.

Last Word

In his book, Dennis has developed Los Angeles as a character that serves many purposes other than just being a setting. This character influences and shapes the story, plot and events of the book while having a strong influence on the lives of all the main characters. Los Angeles also shapes the lives of the characters who are forced to live relationships that are a lot different than the ones found in traditional romance stories.

 “A Native’s Tongue” represents a love story or a love triangle that is heavily influenced and controlled by the city’s cultural and social landscape and its environment. Hence, the city of Los Angeles is integral to the book as it plays a vital role in the story and shapes the characters and their experiences.

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