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where or when the action takes place in a story

Characteristics of a setting

Setting puts us there--it gives us a feeling of being in the situation with the characters. It includes people's customs--how they live, dress, eat, and behave.

Is it possible for an interesting story to have no setting at all?

Yes--if the characters and their situation are strong enough, they will hold our attention in empty space.

Time frame

can be revealed by setting( Example: falling snow tells us it's winter)

Details of setting

give a story a kind of truth or believability

Mood (also called "atmosphere")

a story's emotional effect


the writer's attitude toward a subject or character (Examples of tone: mocking or tender, joyful or nostalgic)


Setting also helps to reveal this (Example: a writer wishing to reveal an untidy character may show us the mess in his bedroom)


In some stories, setting provides the main conflict and can directly affect a story's meaning. (Example: Members of a polar expedition might fight the harshness of the arctic tundra and survive . . . or perish.)

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