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Setting in Story

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

In literature, a setting is the time and location in which a story takes place. When asked to analyze a setting it's important to ask oneself how this story would be different if it took place somewhere else.

Let's talk about setting in a piece of literature. Now sometimes setting is really easy to over look because it doesn't always seem to play a significant role but setting is the time and the location in which a story takes place and while in some stories it may not seem to play too big of a role in some stories it says a lot without saying anything.
The Lion King for instance Mufasa remember the king of the lions, does anybody remember where he lived. He lived in a place called Pride Rock just the name without even looking at it, it says a lot about it, it's somewhere to be pride full of. And if you remember the movie it's a beautiful place that raises up over kind of the land that he is ruling and it really looks nice where as scar his evil brother lives in a crack behind pride rock and it's Dark it's scary, it's really not pleasant to look at and it's a crack behind Pride Rock giving that very little significance in terms of the two locations. So without even describing it just looking at it someone can see that Mufasa probably is a little bit more of an upright citizen or Lion if you will than Scar is.
So you may have times in your career in high school where you are asked to think about the setting and how it impacts the story so the one thing that I the piece of advice that I can give you is when you are asked to think about the setting ask yourself how would the story be different if it was set somewhere else or if the environment was different. So I want to talk just really briefly about some of the books that I've read or taught where setting plays a really important role.
Lord of the Flies takes place on an Island and that's purposeful think about what it would be like if those boys could have run for help somewhere.
Flight to Canada is a book about a slave who escapes slavery on an airplane, no joke. It's really an interesting Reed but you better believe the Ishamael Reed really selects his time and his location purposefully in order to communicate a message.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare opens with a really creepy scene with these witches over a cauldron which sets the mood for the entire play it wouldn't be same without it.
The Great Gatsby quintessential 1920's piece of literature and not only that he really works on developing two different settings the East Tag and the West Tag which really pick our characters against each other and really make the conflict develop.
And then finally the Grapes of Wrath in the depression error Dustball which really paints pictures in our heads about what the life of this characters is like.
So when you are being asked to think about setting really imagine how it changes things how it influences things and that will help you analyze it.