The Secret History

FAQ About The Secret History

What role does the setting, specifically the college campus, play in shaping the events of The Secret History
9 months ago | gizem

What role does the setting, specifically the college campus, play in shaping the events of "The Secret History"?

The college campus setting in "The Secret History" plays a pivotal role in shaping the events of the novel in several ways:

  • Isolation: The story takes place at Hampden College, a fictional elite liberal arts college in Vermont. Its remote and isolated location sets the stage for the characters' insular and intense world. This isolation is a key factor in the events that transpire, as it creates an environment where the group of friends can become increasingly detached from the outside world.
  • Academic Pressure: The rigorous academic environment at Hampden College is a significant driver of the plot. The characters are deeply immersed in their studies of classical languages and philosophy, which fuels their intellectual pursuits and ultimately leads them down a dark path of obsession and moral decay.
  • Social Hierarchy: The college's small size and exclusive nature contribute to a tightly-knit social hierarchy. This hierarchy, based on privilege and elitism, influences the characters' relationships and actions, as they vie for status within their group.
  • Mentorship by Julian Morrow: The presence of Julian Morrow, the charismatic and enigmatic classics professor, is central to the story. His unique teaching methods and personality have a profound impact on the main characters, drawing them into a world of intellectual elitism and secretive rituals.
  • Atmosphere of Secrecy: The secluded campus provides an ideal backdrop for the group's secret rituals and activities, which are central to the plot. The campus's quiet, wooded surroundings provide cover for their actions, reinforcing the sense of secrecy and exclusivity.
  • Aesthetic Beauty: The college's picturesque setting and its emphasis on the classical arts contribute to the characters' appreciation of beauty and aesthetics, which are recurring themes in the novel. This focus on beauty juxtaposes with the darker elements of the story.
  • Sense of Timelessness: The campus's classical architecture and timeless atmosphere contribute to a sense of the past coexisting with the present. This blurring of temporal boundaries underscores the novel's themes of classical influence and the characters' efforts to emulate ancient Greek life.