Just saw Australia with my wife. First off, irony. Kidman plays an Englishwoman who’s never been to Australia. Second, Norton may have played the Incredible Hulk, but Jackman is living it.

What do people mean when they say that a setting becomes a character in a story?

In this movie there comes a time when WWII invades the story and everything that has been going on is swept up and has to react. I think this can be one way for the setting to step in and start directing the plot. It provides a twist, often it provides historicity, but more importantly it ups the stakes and gets the action going when the characters seem on the verge of settling down.

What do you think? Is that device too movie formula to work in a novel? What are some other examples that come to mind when you hear someone compare a setting to a character in the story?

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