Originally published in 1989, the short story “Debbie and Julie” by Doris Lessing is set in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. Consequently, the setting is realistic. The main events take place over the course of one evening, but they also include flashbacks from the previous five months.
The physical setting includes various places: Debbie’s flat, the shed where Julie gives birth, the pub, and Julie’s home (where her parents live). All these places are depicted through Julie’s perspective and are usually presented in contrast. Debbie’s flat is small and crowded compared to Anne and Len’s house:
“Inside the flat it was, she believed warm, but the heating in the block was erratic, particularly in bad weather…”
“There were two bedrooms in the flat. Debbie had given her the little one to herself.”
“Julie ran upstairs. (…) Her b...