Types of Setting:

Neutral setting: the setting is not important, just a place where the action takes place.

Spiritual setting: the values embodied in the physical setting; there is no easy relationship between physical setting and moral values.  

Dynamic setting: the setting may take on the role of a character.

Elements of a setting:

Geography (topography, scenery, interiors, etc.)

Occupation and lifestyle of characters


Religious, intellectual, and moral environment

Functions of a setting:

Setting as a methaphor: the setting projects the internal state of the characters or a pervasive spiritual atmosphere.

Atmosphere: a mood or emotional aura suggested by the setting and helping to establish the reader’s expectations.

Setting as the dominant element:

Time, especially in historical novels

Place, regionalist or local color novels (spiritual as well as geographical)

Setting should lend unity to the novel: What does it contribute?


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