This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at setting in DNA by Dennis Kelly. Setting refers to the time and the location in which a piece of fiction takes place. As in life, the events in most texts usually take place in several different settings, as well as in various locations and times. Within a text, these individual settings include natural features, buildings, vehicles and other spaces. Atmosphere, another aspect of setting, also changes multiple times over the course of a fictional work. A useful exercise to try when analysing a piece of literature is to contrast the various settings of a text.
Events, whether these occur as part of the plot, or take place in the background, provide another crucial element to a text’s setting, with social and political issues often playing an important role.
In DNA we can imagine the events taking place off-stage, being familiar with the cycle of news reports which takes place whenever a young person goes unexpectedly missing and is later presumed dead. The audience’s imagination adds to the mood and atmosphere of this play.
Setting in DNA is somewhat vague. Each act cycles through three different settings, a street, a field, a wood, and back to a field. The only exception to this structure is Act Four, which is curtailed after two scenes: the street and the field. It is worth thinking about why the play ends in this way after following a strict pattern in the other acts. Leah’s departure disrupts this established pattern. Do you think that anything will change? What does the future hold for this group of young people?
DNA is tied by very few details to a specific time and place, allowing the play to speak more broadly to questions of violence and the desire to protect the group at the expense of the individual.
Answer the questions below on setting in DNA.