Establishing the Setting of the Story

Setting is an important literary device. The setting of the story is usually introduced at the beginning along with the characters. It can change throughout the plot as the narrative progresses.

Setting establishes the context of a story through time, place and social environment. 

Time tells the reader when the story is happening. It covers many areas, such as the character’s time of life, the time of day, time of year and the time period such as the past, present, or future. It affects how the characters act and what they say.

Place plays a large part in the setting of any story. It could be an actual region, or a city made larger than life or a work of imagination of the author. It is the physical location and includes geographical properties, climate, weather etc. The location of a story greatly effects the plot and the characters involved. The description of the environment, the images and sounds and other such descriptive details pulls on the reader’s senses. It creates the mood of the story so that the audience can relate themselves to the characters in a story.

The social environment of a story is the political and cultural conditions in which the story takes place. By understanding these conditions, the readers get a better picture of the characters, their motivations, reasons for their decisions and their fears etc.

Setting helps to develop the plot into a more realistic form. Most plot lines are so tied to their settings that they could not have been kept in any other place, time period, or socioeconomic environment. Without a proper setting, readers would find the story confusing and boring, and it would be harder to follow the plot.

No story can exist without an element of time or place. Setting tells the reader where, when and under what circumstances the story is taking place. Setting gives context to the characters’ actions in a story line and it’s easier to understand them when we know where they are. How the characters deal with their surroundings aids in characterization as well.

In some works, the setting can act almost as a nonhuman character, affecting the other characters in many different ways. It could act as an antagonist and post a conflict that the other characters need to resolve, or it could shed light upon characters. Some writers use setting to present symbolic persons, objects, place, action or situation.

In conclusion, writers should keep in mind the extremely important role of the setting in their story. They should utilize this literary tool to further develop their literary piece.


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