II  Setting - Where, When, and Why? 


When: Was the time of the setting important?  For example, Gone with the Wind could have only taken place during the Civil War.  Ivanhoe could only happen during the Middle Ages.  Did you have to understand the politics or customs of the time?  Are the customs and climate somehow influential to these characters or plot? 

Simple Setting: Where and When 

Where: Is the geography important?  Could this novel have taken place just anywhere?  For example, To Kill a Mockingbird could only have taken place in the South; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had to take place on the sea. Does this novel involve misunderstandings between characters from different places? 

A Deeper Look at Setting: Tone and Atmosphere

Do the place and time create a specific atmosphere?  Does tate a specific atmosphere?  Does this element of the setting that influence the tone or mood of the book?  Is local color an important factor in this novel? 

Ima Student
Mr. Greenlee
Elements of the Novel
7 March 2003


The Setting and Point of View in the Novel The Dark is Rising



II Setting: When, and Why? 
IIA Simple Setting
     The simple setting is southern England in the late Twentieth Century.  Susan Cooper does not get specific with either.  It takes place after the invention of the radio, because one is mentioned in the very beginning, but neither television or computers are mentioned.  The specific area of southern England is also not identified.  The Stanton's house is in a forest and near a river; there is a small village where Mr. Stanton has his jeweler's shop; and there are some farms nearby.  Until his eleventh birthday, this world is all that Will Stanton knew. 
IIB Tone or Atmosphere
     On his birthday, however, Will Stanton begins taking trips through time.  The time to which they travel is never clearly spelled out, but hints give the idea that different scenes take place first in the Dark Ages and then later during the 1600's or 1700's.  When Will enters this world of the past he encounters the Old Ones and the Dark.  Susan Cooper does a good job of creating a world that is confusing, strange, and mysterious.  In the beginning, Will's inability to understand the world of the Old Ones is described as "Like not having the radio on the right station." 


III Point of View: Third-Person Limited
     The novel has a third-person narrator because the narrator refers to the Will as "he" or "him" but never "I" or "me".  It is third-person limited because the narrator only reveals what Will can see or hear. 
       The advantage of this in a suspense novel is that the reader is kept in the dark about what is going on, just as Will Stanton is.