Setting is the time, place, and environment in which a story takes place. Here’s what our students say about why setting is important:
• Setting gives us a sense of place.
• We need it in order for the story to exist.
• Creating a setting with vivid descriptions keeps the reader interested.
• Setting influences (affects) the character.
Settings are crucial to what literary characters think and do as real-life environments are to our own thoughts and actions. We spent some time thinking about how our own settings (e.g. classroom, small town, rural Maine, adolescence, 21st century) affect our lives.
In good literature, settings are made real to us through the writer’s use of precise words and phrases that appeal to our senses. To practice with this important story element, our students highlighted words or phrases that help them envision the setting in the short story, Shadows, by Richard Peck. Not only did they search for clues and write constructed responses about the impact of setting on characters and readers, they also learned to make found poems that borrow an author’s words.
Learn more about the poetic form, found poem.