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How much do you know about setting?


The setting is where and when the story takes place. What is the most interesting setting you have found in a work of fiction? A battlefield? A haunted house? Another planet? Some of the best fiction ever written takes place in the most hum-drum environments: a suburban house, a farm, a small village. The eighteenth-century writer, Xavier de Maistre, wrote a travel book set entirely in his bedroom, where he was confined for weeks after being wounded in a duel.

See how much you know about 'setting' by trying this quiz on the subject.

What is meant by a novel or story's setting?
The place a story happens
The place and time a story happens
The collection of adjectives which the author uses in the opening paragraph
The time and place of a story, along with its atmosphere and any events which are taking place
A story set in a darkening wood, amid the howl of wolves, with an ancient castle just visible between flashes of lightning would be most likely to belong to which genre?
Science fiction
Although a good author could surprise readers by using this as a setting for an unexpected story genre, the most likely genres to use this setting would be gothic, horror, fable, fairy tale, mystery or romance
A story set in a deserted wasteland created as the result of human greed, warfare, or ecological disaster would be most likely to belong to which genre?
A 'utopia' is the ideal society, in which everything is perfect. Its opposite is 'dystopia' - a work of 'dystopian' fiction will be set in a miserable, harsh, fearful, oppressive future society
How is setting described in a play?
Setting is described in the opening lines of dialogue
The narrator always tells the audience where the play is set
Setting is given in the stage directions
Setting is described in exactly the same way in plays as it is in novels
As an example, Shakespeare's The Tempest begins: 'ACT 1, Scene 1 - On a Ship at Sea'
Jack London's short story, 'To Build a Fire' begins: 'Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little travelled trail led eastward...' Which of the following could NOT be true of this setting?
The story takes place in winter
The story takes place on a busy highway
The story takes place in the wilderness
The story takes place at dawn
Even if you do not know where the Yukon is (Western Canada), the word 'trail' clearly shows that the story does not begin on a highway
The story 'Girl' begins with this line: 'Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the colour clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don't walk barehead in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil...' Which setting is the most likely for this story?
The City of London
A Caribbean island
St. Petersburg, Russia, in winter
A quiet, but prosperous, European town
The author, Jamaica Kincaid, sets much of her fiction in the West Indies
Ray Bradbury's story 'August 2002: Night Meeting' begins: 'Before going on up into the blue hills, Tomas Gomez stopped for gasoline at the lonely station.' Where would you expect this story to be set?
The Sahara
South-western United States / Mexico
In question 7, which words hint at the setting?
Before, blue hills, station
Blue, stopped, lonely
Gasoline, hills
Blue hills, Tomas Gomez, gasoline, lonely, station
Hills often appear to have a bluish tinge at dusk - but, in this context, 'blue' hints at a surprise
Within a few sentences, it transpires that the reader's initial assumption about Bradbury's setting is wrong. Which of the following sentences taken from the story communicates the surprise?
"Kind of alone out here, aren't you, Pop?" said Tomas.
The old man wiped off the windshield of the small truck. "Not bad."
"How do you like Mars, Pop?"
"Fine. Always something new."
'August 2002: Night Meeting' is set on the planet Mars. The futuristic story (written in 1950) imagined a time when humans had colonised Mars
Which of the following best describes the effect of Bradbury's opening?
The opening gives the impression that human beings have become used to their new environment
The opening gives the impression that human beings feel ill at ease in their new environment
The opening gives the impression that human beings are afraid of their new environment
The opening reminds the reader how alien the landscape of Mars is
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Setting

Author:  Sheri Smith

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