Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • The Importance of Setting

    • Setting is the place or location of the action. It may seem simple, but it plays a big role. First, the setting provides the historical and cultural context for the characters. Novels often have an overall setting, and then episodes or scenes that occur in smaller specific settings. 
    • In Gatsby, the overall setting is New York in the 1920s. Smaller specific settings include: West Egg, East Egg, Gatsby's mansion, and Nick's house just to name a few.


    • The setting is not just factual information though. It can support the mood of the story, help create emotional impact, and help support a point the author is trying to make. 
    • As odd as it sounds, setting can be a character sometimes too. Familiar with Star Trek at all? The ship can be seen as a character! OR a character can be an extension of a setting. For example, in Lord of the Rings, Frodo can be seen as an extension of the Shire.
    • Sometimes the setting can be a symbol too. For example, this symbol might be an idea or the emotional state of a character.

    All of these things can help to develop the theme or argument of a novel.

    Go to the next assignment to read chapter four. As you read chapter four, and the rest of the novel, keep in mind the settings. Can they be symbols? Can the setting be a character? 

    Image source: Map