Places and Times

Setting: The time, place, and mood of a literary work that establish its context. It basically helps in establishing where and when and under what circumstances the story is taking place. Setting includes both specific rooms or buildings or geographic locations, but also the world or milieu in which the events occur (in other words, to describe the setting of the first Harry Potter novel would include describing the space under the Dursley’s staircase and the Hogwarts potions classroom, but would also include description of a world divided between wizards and muggles.)

Time: Time in fiction similarly includes small and large scale sense of time. Does the work span a matter of moments, hours, or eons? Is it set in an identifiable historical period? Is it slow or fast paced and does the pacing change in different sections?

Flashback: A flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point in the story (there are also flashforwards).

Framing: (a.k.a frame tale, framing narrative, or framing device.) A framing story introduces one narrative in order to set up or frame another story that occurs as a story-within-the-story or serves to enclose a series of shorter stories within the larger narrative frame. Some examples include One Thousand and One Nights, Don Quixote, or The Uncle Remus stories. The film Princess Bride is a framed narrative–the frame device is the grandfather reading the story to a sick grandson, while the framed narrative is the story of the Princess Bride, Dread Pirate Roberts, Inigo Montoya, and the rest.


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