Now, we will focus on the time, physical, and social setting of the short story “The Chemist’s Assistant” by Moya Roddy.

Time setting

From the beginning of the text, the time setting is made clear: “It’s 1961 and the first man’s just walked in Space but where I live it might as well be the Dark Ages” (l. 1).

When it comes to the time setting, note that the action spreads over the course of a few weeks,...


Physical setting

The use of colloquial words such as “eigit” and “d’ye” suggests that the town where the action takes place might be in Ireland. This is further established by the author’s nationality and the reference to the “Sacred Heart” (l. 3), a Roman Catholic symbol (the main religion of Ireland).


Social setting

First, note that the events take place in 1961, an important year for the civil rights movement in the United States. The civil rights movement changed people’s perception of black people all over the western world. Although no historical information is provided by the text, the citizens’ reluctance regarding Mussola reveals that the inclusion and acceptance of black people was still something people were struggling to accept. Colette’s neighbour refers to Mussola as “the new arrival” (l. 21) at the chemist’s shop, an expression which makes readers imagine that black people were rarely included in the social life back then or used to mingle among the white population.

Mussola himself admits that the people in town are reluctant to interact with him and avoid having a conversation with him:


Teksten herover er et uddrag fra webbogen. Kun medlemmer kan læse hele indholdet.

Få adgang til hele Webbogen.

Som medlem på får du adgang til alt indhold.

Køb medlemskab nu

Allerede medlem? Log ind