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.”

Social setting

The social setting depicts a surrealistic society in which finding living “stray penises” 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. Pornography had penetrated the mi...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in