Time setting

The short story “The Lazy River” by Zadie Smith has a clearly defined physical setting. The story takes place in 2017. This is indicated by the description of the blood-red moon as “that bad-faith moon of 2017” . The occurrence might refer to the partial lunar eclipse that took place in August 2017. This event also coincides with the story being set in the summer season, as the guests partake in activities typically associated with this time of the year, such as tanning, swimming, and going on vacation.

Physical setting

The story takes place over the span of several days. It is set in “an all-inclusive hotel, in Almería, somewhere in southern Spain”. The place where most of the action takes place is the pool of the hotel, referred to as “the Lazy River” by the narrator. The pool is “a circle, it is wet, it has an artificial current” and “it is about three feet deep, excepting a brief stretch at which point it rises to six feet four”. Next to the pool, there are “common plastic loungers” and “white four-poster beds that face the ocean”. The hotel is situated close to a boardwalk near the sea.

Social setting

The social setting of the story discusses the current political issues in Europe. It also covers environmental concerns.

The globalisation of the food industry and pollution

Due to the globalisation of the food industry, the province of Almeria is considered Europe’s vegetable market. This means that, regardless of season, supermarkets from all over Europe are able to stock food from countries like Spain or other international sources. The vegetables produced in Almeria are mainly exported to Britai...

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