Location and Timeline of a Story| English Grade 4| Learning Concepts
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Comprehending the Text

Concept: Identify Location and Timeline

Timeline and location form the setting of a story. Let us have a look at how to identify these aspects of a setting in a story.

Timeline in a Story

A timeline is the order of time which can be in chronological order. It can tell us about a set of events or activities that happened at a particular point in a story. A timeline shows the past, present, and future events of a story. All stories take place at a particular time.

How to Identify Timeline in a Story?

While reading a story, look for information that shows when a story takes place. A timeline gives a timely representation of events that helps you better understand the story better.

  • Events of a story are arranged according to the timeline. Mark the important time-related words from the story. For example, many years ago…, hundreds of years ago…, etc.
  • Identify the events in the story and when they happened from the first page to the last page of the story. Any major life events that occurred in the past could be mentioned by the author, so do consider that too.
  • Make a note of the numerical words such as hours, years and days or months. Time markers hint at the time through various events in the text. For each of the story events, note if the author has mentioned the time of day or weather details. This will help to understand the passage of time in the story.
  • In certain stories, the day and time are specifically mentioned. Especially in crime fiction, the date and time also come up as chapter subheadings or even headings.
  • Some stories do have references to both the past and future. This helps to remind readers of the passage of time. For example, When the boy was five years old, he would trouble everyone in the palace. But when he grew up to be a King at the age of 20… (About 15 years have passed by in the story)
  • Sometimes an upcoming event is mentioned which will happen in a week or a month’s time. This will help you to determine that a week or a month or this many days has passed since the earlier passage when the event takes place in the story.
  • Examples:

    Example 1_Timeline in a Story

    The above text is from the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It portrays American in the 1930s, specifically the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator of the story, Scout, describes Maycomb as hot, humid and old-fashioned. She also describes the racism evident at the time. This information gives the reader more insights into the situation in a particular period in time.

    Example 2_Timeline in a Story

    From the first sentence, we can guess that it is morning. We are able to guess it because Jitesh is just waking up for the day. We also know that the location is his room as the text tells us that he is in his bed. The story doesn’t reveal the time period or moment in history. However, this detail will help you to understand how many hours or days it takes for the events that follow as there would be some indication of it.

    Indicators of a Timeline

    The following details indicate the timeline of a story. You can look out for these clues that gives more information about the timeline.

    Example 2_Timeline in a Story

What is Location in a Story?

It refers to the geographical location of a story. In simpler words, it tells us the place where the story takes place. Location of a story is also called setting.

How to Identify Location in the Text?

  • To describe the setting of a story, the author might include details about the physical landscape surroundings which can serve as a background of the story.
  • Location can also be a fictional world created by the writer. It could also tell us about someplace that is visible in a dream only.
  • An author might only mention the physical location which is the character’s immediate surroundings, like a house or a room.

Types of Setting

There are three types of setting in the text.

  1. Temporal Setting:
    It refers to the era that the story takes place in. It is the general time and place where all the action happens in a story.
  2. Example:

    The Great Gatsby was set in 1920’s America. This helped to capture the mood, climate, and setting of that time.

  3. Environmental Setting:
    This shows the geographical area to be specific. This includes details of the geographical location such as mountains, water, desert, etc. The social and cultural setting such as school, community, places of worship etc. and the climate or weather (rains, desert, storm, forest, etc.
  4. Example:

    There was a hug mansion at the top of the hill. The winding road from where I stood had ferns on either side of the road.

  5. Individual setting:
    The location mentioned in the story is about a specific place or a specific surrounding. For example, Gatsby’s mansion, Myrtle’s apartment, a room or the garden.

Exceptions

Short stories can have settings such as a breakfast table or a room. It need not be a specific geographic location.

Example:

  1. Let’s say an argument occurs at the table during breakfast. The wife and husband or dad and son disagree over something. They’re having toast with eggs. This is also a setting which indicates the time and place.
  2. Exception_Timeline in a Story
  3. Timeline and location can change throughout the story. Places can change as the story progresses. That also brings about a change in circumstances which affects the characters' opinion or a situation.
Mindmap_Identify Location and Timeline in a Story
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