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Setting. Feature Menu. Setting Setting, Mood, and Tone Setting and Character Setting and Conflict Practice. Setting. Setting draws us into the world of a story. Details of setting tell us. where and when events are happening. how the situation feels. who the characters are.

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Feature Menu


Setting, Mood, and Tone

Setting and Character

Setting and Conflict



Setting draws us into the world of a story. Details of setting tell us

  • where and when events are happening
  • how the situation feels
  • who the characters are
  • what challenges the characters face

Details about a place usually are an essential part of a story.

  • The setting may include people’s customs—how they live, dress, eat, and behave.

Setting also may reveal a time frame.


time of day


[End of Section]

setting mood and tone
Setting, Mood, and Tone

Setting can add to a story’s emotional effect—its mood or atmosphere.

relaxed, carefree

foreboding, mysterious

lonely, sad

setting mood and tone1
Setting, Mood, and Tone

Details of setting also help express tone—the writer’s attitude toward a subject or character.

Listen to this passage. What is Mark Twain’s tone? What details help create that tone?

The furniture of the hut was neither gorgeous nor much in the way.The rocking-chairs and sofas were not present, and never had been, but they were represented by two three-legged stools, a pine-board bench four feet long, and two empty candle-boxes. The table was a greasy board on stilts, and the table-cloth and napkins had not come—and they were not looking for them, either.

from Roughing It by Mark Twain

setting mood and tone2
Setting, Mood, and Tone

Quick Check

What details reveal the location?

The water is now just below my windows on the ninth floor. There is nothing to do but watch. The water is filthy—there had been the six-week garbage strike, and all the city’s garbage is awash—and the seagulls are everywhere, feasting.

from Notes from a Bottle by James Stevenson

What details reveal the situation? What mood do they create?

[End of Section]

setting and character

Meg sat back in the stylish chair and chatted on her cell phone. The shopping bags at her feet bore the colorful labels of many different stores—but each seemed to have “fashionable” and “expensive” written all over it.

Setting and Character

Setting also can reveal character.

  • What do these details tell you about Meg?

[End of Section]

setting and conflict
Setting and Conflict

In some stories, the characters’ environment

  • provides the main conflict
  • directly affects the story’s meaning

[End of Section]


Work alone or with a partner to plan a story in which setting will play a major role. Use a chart like the one shown here.