This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at setting in Charlotte Keatley's My Mother Said I Never Should. Setting refers to the time and the location in which the events of a fictional text take place. Most texts, of course, have more than one setting: as in life, fictional events are likely to occur in different places and times. Buildings and spaces provide individual settings within the wider setting and these very often contrast with one another.
In addition to time and place, events provide a crucial element in a text’s setting, even if these events only take place in the background. Social and political issues play an important role.
In a play, the reader glimpses this wider fictional world, known as context, through the dialogue of the characters (it is important not to confuse this fictional context, which is integral to the setting of a text, with the author’s real-life context). Another key element of setting, atmosphere, usually changes many times over the course of a text.
In My Mother Said I Never Should, scenes jump in time and space, so that a character who is an adult in one scene might suddenly be a child in another. A scene in a back garden might be followed by one in the timeless Wasteground or one set several hundred miles to the north. Growing up in the play is associated with the desire to relocate. At one point Margaret reminds Doris that she has no intention of becoming a “Manchester dentist’s wife”. Although the distances involved as each character moves away from home are not great, they disrupt the relationships between the characters and are often the occasion for worry. Historical context also becomes significant as we see how each decade affects the individual characters.
Answer the questions below on setting in My Mother Said I Never Should.