Setting: the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs. Settings include the background, atmosphere or environment in which characters live and move, and usually include physical characteristics of the surroundings. Settings enables the reader to better envision how a story unfolds by relating necessary physical details of a piece of literature. A setting may be simple or elaborate, used to create ambiance, lend credibility or realism, emphasize or accentuate, organize, or even distract the reader.
Example: In A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid describes the different settings through out the novel in great detail, allowing the reader to get a clear visual developing a personal feeling toward the setting. The setting starts out in the time after the British had ruled the island. An early example is when Kincaid describes Antigua as beautiful, “more beautiful than any of the other islands” (3 Kincaid). She describes Antigua as a place “where the sun always shines” (4 Kincaid) and has a hot and dry climate. She allows us to envision Antigua as a breath taking and immaculate get away destination. It is a perfect place to relax and escape from the stress of work and every day life. She describes the tourist as “you” (being the reader) and she begins to describe the setting with much detail as “you” disembark the plane to start your holiday in this beautiful place. She describes you as typical person to come to Antigua to holiday in this perfect destination. She describes the experience the tourist has when he enters the taxi driver making the reader feel a little uneasy because it is always an experience with new cab drivers. Antigua seems to be a very poor island and the cab drivers are driving luxurious Japanese cars with nicely smoothed highways. Kincaid also describes the setting when the tourist notices the library on his way to the hotel. The way the Antiguans talk about the library makes one think the library was something incredible that all of Antigua took enjoyment in. It is now a pending piece of construction due to the earthquake. For this building is nothing but an embarrassment now, but it use to bring enjoyment to Antiguans.
Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
“Setting.” www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/general/glossary.htm Web. 5