The exact geographical setting in “Lightbox” by Emma Clear is not indicated, but references to Whistler (l. 77) suggest that the action takes place in Canada, probably in Vancouver.

Physical setting

The physical setting includes places like the “grocery store café” (l. 2), the narrator and Elsie’s apartments, the Starbucks café and the city streets. The depictions of the physical setting focus on the autumn scenery, building blocks, and apartment lights:

Some geraniums still survive and they chatter in a planter like red mouths conspiring over the street. We live on the fifth floor, just above tree level, and now the orange leaves are deserting their branches. The trees obscure the view a little in summer. (ll. 14-16)


Social setting

The references to organic food and going to yoga or running, are representative of a part of society which supports and practices a durable lifestyle; Elsie’s character represents this part of society: “Everything in this store is organic. I never shopped here until Elsie. I thought it was for vegan freaks.” (ll. 5-6); “I’m a novice at yoga and sometimes I just give up and lie there in corpse pose with what the instructor calls a “soft gaze”. Elsie’s been going to yoga for years. I prefer running but Elsie likes to run alone.” (ll. 24-26)

The reference to iPhone, laptops, social media profiles, and blogs illustrate aspects related to how digital technologies have become an intrinsic part of our lives. In the process, they are also reshaping the concept of privacy.


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