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Historical Context in The Striding Place

Gertrude Atherton, who lived from 1857 to 1948, spent most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area. While most of her numerous stories and novels are set in California, Atherton set “The Striding Place” in the north of England in West Riding, Yorkshire. While the story makes no mention of its historical period, we can presume it takes place during the late 19th century. Atherton used a number of factual details about Yorkshire in creating the world of the story, namely the River Wharfe and its deadly stretch known as “the Strid.”

Historical Context Examples in The Striding Place:

The Striding Place

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"the tales of those that had been done to death in the Strid..."   (The Striding Place)

The Strid is a real location in Yorkshire and the namesake of the story. Near Bolton Abbey, it is one of the crossing places of the River Wharfe. Atherton’s inspiration for the story comes from the numerous deaths that have occurred at the Strid, a narrow section of the river consisting of rapids, waterfalls, underwater rocks, deep dropoffs in the riverbed, and sudden surges. It is one of the deadliest stretches of river in the world, with a nearly 100% fatality rate for those who fall in.

"had roamed the moors and forests of this West Riding of Yorkshire in hot pursuit of game worth the killing..."   (The Striding Place)

The setting of the story is a country estate in the region of West Riding in Yorkshire, a county in the north of England. The characters are of the upper class, specifically the landowning gentry. Bird-hunting is a traditional sport among the upper classes. In England, the annual grouse shooting season begin the 12th of August; “The Striding Place” takes place shortly thereafter.

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