Venice is an ancient seaport city in northeastern Italy, famed for its beautiful buildings and art and considered one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is a favorite destination of honeymooners and lovers. The city covers more than one hundred islands separated by 177 canals. The Grand Canal, on which John sees Laura in a ferry, winds through Venice for about two miles. The four hundred bridges in the city are for pedestrians only. For centuries the gondola, a flat-bottomed boat propelled by a single oar, provided most transportation. Today, the gondolas are used almost exclusively by tourists, while motorized boats transport almost all freight and passenger traffic throughout Venice.
Modern Venice has struggled with physical damage from flooding, pollution, and age, as well as the loss of population to other areas. While flooding has been commonplace throughout the history of the city, 1966 saw an especially severe flood. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) coordinated an international effort to renovate and preserve many of the city’s historic structures.
England in the 1960s
The London of the 1960s, in which John and Laura lived and worked, was a focus for much of the popular culture of the world at that time—Mary Quant’s creation of the mini-skirt and the famous English model Twiggy made the city the focus for much of the fashion world, while the Beatles and the Rolling Stones helped make England the epicenter of rock and roll during the decade.
Pressure during the 1960s on British lawmakers to address the disparity between women’s and men’s salaries resulted in the Equal Pay Act of 1970, doing away with what were referred to as “men’s rates” and “women’s rates” for the same job. Women’s political power also increased in the 1960s, with 29 women holding seats as Members of Parliament in the House of Commons in 1964—the largest number since women were first allowed to stand for election in 1918.
Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 14, Daphne du Maurier – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.