The short story “People-Watching” by Julia Gray is set in London, England, in Paddington Station where the two characters sit and sketch those who pass by. The story is most likely meant to be read as a contemporary one, with the action taking place in modern days.

Time setting

The time setting shifts from the time of the narration to the character’s memories of his sister. These memories take us to Paul and Turtle’s childhood – when the girl would drink water to deceive nurses that she weighed more – and to certain events that marked their childhood years: “Sewing Brownie badges – Agility, Booklover – onto her dress, stitching the sleeve closed by mistake. Playing a nun in The Sound of Music. Dancing with turned-out toes to Carnival of the Animals.” (ll. 136-138)


Physical setting

The present physical setting is initially depicted focusing on specific elements, in an informative manner: “They are set up side by side, between the Upper Crust and the cash machines, on the concourse of Paddington Station. It feels odd, thinks Paul, to be stationary here, when everyone else is in transit.” (ll. 4-7)


Social setting

The social setting depicts the life of students in London, with their academic activities,...


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