Setting refers to the location of the story-in time and in place.
A story about a young girl who experiences bullying at school is set in a suburb of Atlanta, GA in the 1980s.
A story about the Civil War is set in the rural south in early 1860s.
Authors use setting to help develop the plot and the reader often understands the characters, their actions, and the conflict in the story better when they understand the influence of setting.
Examples of Setting:
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy, and the prologue lays out details regarding an ongoing feud between two prominent families in the town.
Prologue: Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, / From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, / where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small town in Alabama in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum. People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
The setting of The Lord of the Flies is an uninhabited island on which a plane carrying British schoolboys crashes during a war. The setting is an integral part of the plot of the book, as the boys become more savage without the rule of law and order.
Literary Terms Examples