The Role of Climatology in Shaping Characters and Settings


Climatology is the study of the Earth’s climate, including all its elements and how they interact to create weather patterns and long-term trends. While it may seem like a niche field, climatology actually has a significant role in shaping the characters and settings in literature.

One of the most obvious ways that climatology influences literature is through the depiction of the natural environment. In many works of fiction, the setting often acts as a character in itself, with its own unique personality and impact on the story. And just like a character, the setting is greatly influenced by the climate of the region.

For example, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy series “The Lord of the Rings,” the setting of Middle Earth is an essential element of the story. The varying climates and landscapes of the different regions, such as the Shire’s lush and temperate countryside or the desolate and freezing terrain of Mordor, add depth and realism to the story’s world. These settings also shape the characters’ lives and their quests, as they must navigate through treacherous environments to reach their goals.

But it’s not just the physical aspects of the setting that are influenced by climatology. The climate also affects the characters themselves, both physically and emotionally. Extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat or freezing cold, can have a dramatic impact on the characters’ physical abilities and mental states. This is evident in classic literature like Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild,” where the frigid climate of the Yukon plays a central role in shaping the behavior and instincts of the main character, a dog named Buck.

Climatology also has a hand in character development by influencing the cultural norms and behaviors of different societies. For instance, people living in hot and arid regions may have a different way of life and belief systems compared to those in cooler, more temperate climates. This is often reflected in literature, where the characters’ attitudes and traditions are heavily influenced by the climate of their environment.

Moreover, climatology can also impact the plot and conflict of a story. Disastrous weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, or droughts, can create tension, drive the plot forward, and even serve as a catalyst for character growth. In John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” the Dust Bowl’s harsh climate forces the Joad family to leave their home and embark on a journey of survival, which brings about significant changes in their lives.

Climate change, an issue at the forefront of current events, is also making its way into literature. Many recent works of fiction incorporate the consequences of climate change, such as rising sea levels or extreme weather events, into their stories. This allows readers to connect with and understand the impact of climate change on the world and its inhabitants, as well as how it shapes their lives and relationships.

In conclusion, climatology plays a significant role in shaping the characters and settings in literature. It adds depth and realism to the story’s world, influences character development, and drives the plot forward. As our understanding of climatology continues to evolve, we can expect to see its impact on literature grow as well, further reflecting the ever-changing natural environment in which we live.