The short story “The Penis” by Hanif Kureishi is set in a post-modern, stressful version of London (as indicated by the reference to Tower Bridge). The characters’ actions take place in an urban setting with bars, clubs, coffee shops, apartments, houses, and a film set.

Physical setting

The physical setting is rarely described, as the author prefers only to mention where a certain action takes place, like in the following example: “The surgeon was at dinner with several formal clients. Doug interrupted him and they walked into the surgeon’s beautiful garden.” (p. 84, ll. 31-32)

Social setting

The social setting depicts a surrealistic society in which finding living “stray penises” (p. 80, l. 1) is not something impossible. In this society, sexual objectification is common, and the porn industry is thriving: “He had been in pornography since he was a teenager, but recently the market started to boom. ...

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