#10. Setting? Setting! Where (and when) did I leave my book?

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setting in literature definition, setting in literature worksheets, setting in literature examples

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Not just where, but when? That’s what setting refers to:

  • Where?
  • When?

For readers who just stumbled upon this blog post, Mrs. Sparhawk’s reading students have each chosen a different classic novel to read and discuss online. We’re writing our own questions sometimes, and answering them as well.

For today’s blog journal:

  • Write a question that deals with the setting of your book.
  • Include the word “setting” in either your question or your answer.
  • Be sure to answer your own question.
  • Include a quoted passage from the book, in either your question or your answer.
  • Don’t forget to include your title and author.

Need an example? Sure. No problemo! Here you go:

My book is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Q: At the start of the novel, Stevenson says, “…we go back to the year 17–” Why do you think he left out the exact year? Isn’t that important? Doesn’t the reader need to be able to picture the setting?

A: I believe Stevenson left out the year because he wanted the story to have an element of mystery to it. By placing the 17 in front of the dashes, he places the setting at a point in time when pirates were very common. Knowing it’s during the 1700’s also helps us imagine the costumes and dialect of the period. Yet he leaves off the exact year, because he wants us to think the protagonist’s life might be in danger if too many facts are revealed. There’s also the possibility that Stevenson wanted to make his story seem believable, and if he gave a specific date to the tale, it would make people think he was lying.

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34 responses »

  1. Im reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    Question:How is your setting different from everyone elses?
    Answer: I pretty sure none of the other students is reading about a guy that gets stranded on an island and has no way getting home. I can tell just from all of th e tittles.

  2. im reading Robinson Crusoe bye Daniel Defoe
    Question: What type of setting is your book based on?
    Answer: My book the setting is in a jungle an an island. Were there is no sign of people. With mysterious creatures never before seen.

  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Question: How is the setting related to the way they do things?

    Answer: Where they live and how the talk is related to the setting because where they live is effected by the way they do things. Who they are around affects the things they do and say. Example: I the setting takes place in a rich enviorment they would have different styles of doing things, same with a poor enviorment.

    Quote: “How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When i have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

  4. my book is Tarzan of the Apes by edgar rice burroughs

    Q: When in your book can you find somthing about setting and write what it has to say

    A:on page 21 there is the description about the nights in the savage jungle and how scarry the pitch black is and this is what it says “During the long hours of darkness they caught but fitful snatches of sleep for the noises of a great jungle teeming with myriad animal life life kept their overwrought nerves on edge so that a hundred times they were startled to wakefulness by piercing screams, or the stealthy moving of great bodies beneath them”

  5. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
    Q.Quote a passage that gives you an idea of what the setting is like without actually talking about the setting at all. Explain how it tells the setting.
    A.”They finished the deal with dignity and Lee chong threw in a pair of Old Tennis Shoes.” This tells the setting because Old Tennis Shoes is an old western term for cheap alcohol.

  6. The Call of The Wild by Jack London
    Q:How has your setting changed throughout the book?
    A: The setting in my book changed from buck living in a fancy house with a nice loving owner to getting kidnapped and shipped into the Canadian wilderness and being beaten, wounded and on the brink of dying from starvation.

  7. Jane Eyre by:Charlotte Bronte

    Q:What is the setting and how did i know that was the setting??
    A:The setting is like waaaay back in the 1800’s in somwhere in England and in a huuuuge mansion that is absolutely huge…I can tell this by the discription that the author gave off. Here is a quote from the book so you have an idea of what i am talking about: “The steps and banisters were of oak; the staircase window was high and latticed; both it and the long gallery into which the bedroom doors opened as if the belonged to a church rather than a house. A very chill and vault-like air pervaded the stairs and the gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude; and I was glad when finally ushered into my chamber, to find it of small dimensions, and furnished in ordinary modern style.” And just by what they say is how i know when this book was written and where

  8. Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    Q:Describe the setting by using a quote from the book.
    A:”Our Island is like a dolphin lying on its side,with its tail pointing toward the sunrise,its nose pointing to the sunset,and its fins making reefs and the rocky ledges along the shore.”I found it on page 9.

  9. Island Of The Blue dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    Q:Describe the setting by using a quote from the book.
    A:Our Island is like a dolphin lying on its side,with its tail pointing toward the sunrise,its nose pointing to the sunset,and its fins making reefs and the rocky ledges along the shore.I found it on page 9.

  10. A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

    Q:does your book have a setting? Tell the setting of your book and give examples of the setting by quoting something from your book.

    A: yes every book has to have a setting and mine does in this passage it is describing the setting of where scrooge lives in his house. “He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suit of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that once could be scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again.”

  11. Q. When does the setting in your story take place?
    A. My stories setting takes place in London 1872at a No.7 Savile Row, Burlington Gardens, house that Sheridan gave to him when he died.
    “Mr.Phileas Fogg lived,in 1872,at No.7,Savile Row,Burlington Gardens,the house in witch Sheridan died in 1814.”

  12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    Question)Why does the author in this book like to jump around from setting to setting? Do you think he has a purpose for this? Tom says on page 7 “I ain’t afraid” do you think he might be afraid of the stteing?

    Answer)Authors like to change setting a lot in my opinion because it keeps you awake in the story. No one likes to read about a tree. We want to be in the middle of a battle with lots of blood and violence. No, Tom is saying he isn’t afraid of the new rich kid.

  13. *My re-done post*
    “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

    Q.Why does the protagonist and her friends keep trying to have Mr. Radley(some weird guy that the kids believe is dead or odd)come out of his house? And why are they so focused on that house anyway?

    A. I’m assuming the setting is currently set on Mr. Radley(and his home) because he may be the antagonist or he’s hiding something from the public. Or he’s going to need help from Atticus due to lawful reasons.

  14. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

    Q.Why does the protagonist and her friends keep trying to have Mr. Radley(some weird guy that the kids believe is dead or odd)come out of the house? And why are they so focused on that house anyway?

    A. I’m assuming because Mr. Radley may be the antagonist or he’s hiding something from the public. Or he’s going to need help from Atticus due to lawful reasons.

  15. A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

    Q:does your book have a setting? Tell the setting of your book and give examples of the setting by quoting something from your book.

    A: yes every book has to have a setting and mine does in this passage it is describing the setting of where scrooge lives in his house. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suit of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that once could be scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again.

    • Your own question asks you to quote something from the book, and yet you don’t have any quotation marks. What part of your answer is a quotation? PLease re-do it to include an actual quoted sentence. Thanks.

  16. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
    Q: Explain what the setting is, give a quote that helps picture the setting, and then explain how the story would be different if the setting was written in our time.
    A: Well the setting in this book is from about the 18th century in this huge mansion. Here is a quote to help you imagine this mansion,” The steps and banisters were of oak; the staircase window was high and latticed; both it and the long gallery into which the bedroom doors opened as if the belonged to a church rather than a house. A very chill and vault-like air pervaded the stairs and the gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude; and I was glad when finally ushered into my chamber, to find it of small dimensions, and furnished in ordinary modern style.” The book would be different if it was written in a more modern time by the characters would have acted different, and you wouldn’t read about riding in carriges for hours just to go to a town 50 miles away. This story would probably be turned upside down because Jane is only at the mansion because she is a governess teaching a small girl, but if it was in our time the child would have probably went to a regular school. So Jane and Mr. Rochester most likely wouldn’t have met.

  17. The Swiss Family Robinson By J.D. Wyss

    Question: Why do you think that the author never tells where or in what time period the family is in?

    Answer: The author starts the book with “Already the tempest had continued six days; on the seventh its fury seemed still increasing; and the morning dawned on us without the prospect of hope, for we had wandered so far from the right track, that none on board new where we were.” that answers the first part about where they are because no one knows where they are. The second part about what time period it is a little harder. I think that Wyss never tells what year it is is because to make the story sound more real the reader must already know the year. I did a little research on it and found that J.D. Wyss never published his book his son published the manuscript his father had written. Meaning that J.D. Wyss might have just kept the book in the family. So in present text the book would be in their present time of reading it.

    • I forgot to put setting in is so here is my revised edition.

      The Swiss Family Robinson By J.D. Wyss

      Question: Why do you think that the author never gives any hint to the setting, like when or where, family is in?

      Answer: The author starts the book with “Already the tempest had continued six days; on the seventh its fury seemed still increasing; and the morning dawned on us without the prospect of hope, for we had wandered so far from the right track, that none on board new where we were.” that answers the first part about where they are because no one knows where they are. The second part about what time period it is a little harder. I think that Wyss never tells what year it is is because to make the story sound more real the reader must already know the year. I did a little research on it and found that J.D. Wyss never published his book his son published the manuscript his father had written. Meaning that J.D. Wyss might have just kept the book in the family. So in present text the book would be in their present time of reading it.

  18. Roots by Alex Haley
    Q. How does the settings change from when Kunta is moved to America from Africa?
    A. The setting changes because Kunta goes from Afica across the Atlantic ocean and then to Virginia. The setting changes in this because Kunta is used to his own people around him and forests that he knows by heart. This changes because know instead of his own people he has to be around people he has never seen in his life. The forest structures change to because he is used to thick and overgrown terain and now he is around a less thick forested area. A quote about how Kunta felt about this is, “Kunta shuddered with fear,his face running with sweat, breath tight in his throat.” This is what Kunta felt when he first got of the slave ship and saw all the slave owners.

  19. I’m reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Question:
    Summarize the meaning of setting, and what is the setting so far in your book? Give some examples of settings from other books that you’ve read.

    Answer:
    Setting: there is settings in two ways that I try to remember it in my mind; in a book and in reality. Of course, in reality, setting would be the location of, for example, you’ve placed an object(or in other words, the geographical location). In a book, the FICTIONAL setting would be the time, place, era, etc. that a story takes place.

    I honestly think that the only setting in which my story has taken place is an interrogation room, because I’m only on page 15. I’m behind, I fail. Bahaha, but that’s what it is!

    One of the settings in, say, New Moon from the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, is on the cliff above the huge lake, where Bella is trying to see Edward by rebelling. The setting in the first stanza of Humpty Dumpty is Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall and falling down, which I’m guessing is a pleasant day, around noon in the summertime(:

    • Amy, you’ve got to get a little farther in the book to do this journal. Read more, then comment again. So far, you have not been given credit for this journal, because you don’t seem to know the TIME and the PLACE where your tale happens.

  20. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

    Q: In the book, explain how Corrie described the incident about the invasion by the airport in Harlem. If Corrie would have not described the room that night, would you have troubles trying to picture the image?

    A. Corrie described the incident like this, “The bombing seemed mostly to be coming from the direction of the airport. At last we tiptoed uncertainly out of Tante Jan’s front room. The glowing sky lit the room with a strange brilliance. The chairs, the mahogany bookcase, the old up piano, all pulsed with an eerie light.” If Corrie would not have described that incident, we wouldn’t have a very good picture of the setting. We wouldn’t know what the room looked like, where it was taking place, or what the light was shining on. Little things like that let us know what’s going on, and that makes it a good book.

  21. Othello by Julius Lester

    Question: Describe the setting by quoting a sentence/passage.

    Answer: A broad road with tress bordering either side led from the gates to the lip of the crest. From there the road twisted and turned around the mountain to the village at the bottom.

    • I’m going to accept your response for points, but please be advised: next time you need to use quotation marks around any portion of the text, like this:

      “A broad road with tress bordering either side led from the gates to the lip of the crest. From there the road twisted and turned around the mountain to the village at the bottom.”

  22. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

    Q. Quote a sentence/passage from the book that describe the setting.

    A.Sometimes he led him up to the stubble-field to the hilltop from which it was possible to see the white town of Salinas and the geometric fields of the great valley, and the oak trees clipped by sheep.

  23. I’m reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    Question:In my book it doesn’t give a year,so how do I know what the setting is in the book?
    Answer:I know because on the first page it says “At first it seemed like a small shell afloat on the sea”that sounds like something an indian would say and it also has other details about their setting.

  24. Where the Red Fern Grows. Wilson Rawls

    Q: Where does the setting in your book take place? Tell me how you know.

    A:My books setting takes place along time ago in the Ozark mountains in an old house near the Illinois river. They do not live in a town they live in the Ozarks on land that was given to them by Indians.
    “Our home was in a beautiful valley far back in the rugged Ozarks. The country was new and sparsely settled. The land we lived on was Cherokee land, allotted to my mother because of the Cherokee blood that flowed in her veins. It lay in a strip from the foothills of the mountains to the banks of the Illinois river in northeastern Oklahoma.”
    This paragraph tells me a lot about the setting in my book and I found it on page 17.

  25. 1. I am reading Emma by Jane Austen.
    2. Q: According to Wikipedia, EMMA takes place during the Regency period in England. Explain what that means and give examples of how that setting effects the social issues in this novel.
    3. A: According to Wikipedia, the Regency period in England is 1811-1820. My novel was actually published in December of 1815, so it’s right in the middle of that era. Wikipedia says, “The Regency is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture” and in my book, Emma, the main character, draws a portrait of Miss Harriet Smith and gives it to Mr. Elton. There’s a lot of discussion about the artistic quality of Emma’s picture of Harriet: “It appears to me a most perfect resemblance in every feature. I never saw such a likeness in my life. We must allow for the effect of shade…” So the importance of art in Regency England is an example of how the setting (Regency period–time–in England–place–) effects social issues in the novel EMMA.
    4. My teacher says I need to cite my Wikipedia references: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Regency] and
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma]

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