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Monday, August 27. Seating Chart (3) Get out Homework (to be turned in at the end of class with an exit slip) (2) In your notes: Quick think—why is it important to understand setting other than simply knowing time and place? (7) How is understanding setting relevant in your life?
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Monday, August 27 • Seating Chart (3) • Get out Homework (to be turned in at the end of class with an exit slip) (2) • In your notes: Quick think—why is it important to understand setting other than simply knowing time and place? (7) • How is understanding setting relevant in your life? • Setting (25) • Exit Slip: (7)
Setting Setting is the historical time and place and the social circumstances that create the world in which characters act and make choices.
Setting can be revealed through the author’s use of details about one or more of the following: • Geographic location • Cultural backdrop/social context/time period • Artificial environment • Props
Levels of Setting • Micro • The most immediate and earliest influences • Family, local friendships and peer groups, neighborhood, community institutions • Meso • Intermediate level of influence which are larger and less personal • Government, entertainment, news organizations, large geographic regions • Macro • Most distant level • International relations, global economy, culture, climate change
Dimensions of Setting • Physical Setting • Physical location, climate, physical features • Address, country, city, neighborhood, street, architecture, floor plan, etc. • Temporal Setting (time) • The period or era • The duration of time in which the story takes place • Social/Psychological Setting • The human dimension • Depending on the social context of the setting (who is there) the expectations of the story change • The situation in which the setting is set, often gives a clue to the conflict of the story. (When a character tries to change the status quo, conflict occurs.)
In addition to identifying the setting, it is also necessary to analyze the effect setting may have on such elements as structure, symbol, irony, tone, mood, and character.
Setting: As it Creates Mood or Atmosphere Through details about the environment, the emotional charge of a literary piece is created, and that charge prepares the reader for what is to come. When authors describe light, shadow, colors, shapes, smells, and sounds, they are using setting to create distinctive moods. Examples: gloomy, foreboding, suspenseful, ominous, dreary, brooding, tragic, hopeless, happy, romantic, mysterious.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill—The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river. The Hobbit
Setting as a Reflection of Character When analyzing the correlation between setting and character, one should consider the way characters respond to their environment and their adjustment to any changes in this setting. If an author gives details about a character’s favorite room, workplace, hideaway, or manner of dress, the reader may infer certain traits which serve to enhance character development.
What can you infer about the characters of Tony and Ultima from the author’s words about the setting? Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the Ilano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood. She took my hand, and the silent, magic powers she possessed made the beauty from the raw, sun-baked Ilano, the green river valley, and the blue bowl which was the white sun’s home. My bare feet felt the throbbing earth and my body trembled with excitement. Time stood still, and it shared with me all that had been, and all that was to come… From Bless Me, Ultima
Archetypal Settings Archetypal settings or setting elements have some universal aspect that is associated by most people with a particular human experience. For example, deserts are associated with spiritual quests through which the character is cleansed of desire and materialism and in which he or she has a divine or prophetic vision. The sea is a setting that hints at an opportunity to delve into the subconscious. Underground places suggest an experience in which the hero confronts the darker or more unpleasant aspects of the self, including the fear of death. Many other archetypal settings enrich the reader’s understanding of the author’s chosen theme. Other archetypal settings include the river, garden, wasteland, maze, castle, tower, wilderness, and the threshold.
Why is it so important? • With all the information we can gain from the setting, the author is really giving us rules about what to expect. • Setting determines rules, constraints, and possibilities, potential conflicts and possible consequences
Think about Your Life • How do the rules you live by change with setting? • How do your expectations change with setting? • Exit slip: On last night’s homework, write down one reason understanding setting is important and why.