“Dead as They Come” by Ian McEwan is set in the late 1970s in London and includes two specific physical settings: the shop where the narrator sees the mannequin, and the narrator’s house.


Physical setting

The clothing shop is only briefly described by the narrator, who is more concerned with the mannequin, than with the place:

I slavishly follow the foolish conventions and describe it to you, the first home of my tender Helen? I do not really care to. It was a large shop, a store, a department store and it dealt seriously and solely in clothes and related items for women. It had moving staircases and a muffled air of boredom. Enough. 

This description suggests that the narrator feels a women’s clothing shop is beneath his notice. However, the narrator presents his own home in detail, which serves to...

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