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In "A Summer Tragedy", what is the setting of the story? When and where...

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yanasmith | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 29, 2008 at 1:10 AM via web

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In "A Summer Tragedy", what is the setting of the story? When and where does the story took place?

I understand it is in the south but I want to know, was it in the early twentieth century or etc.

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:18 AM (Answer #1)

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The story was first published by Arna Wendell Bontemps (1902-73) in the year 1933.

The story takes place sometime in 1930 and in the region of the Mississipi Delta.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:40 AM (Answer #2)

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The story "A Summer Tragedy" takes place in the Mississippi River Delta.  This is the rich, fertile area where the Mississippi River runs into the Gulf of Mexico, in the states of Mississippi and Louisiana.  The story takes place around 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression.  A clue to the time the events take place is given in the fact that the Pattons drive through the countryside in an old Model T Ford, an automobile that was  manufactured only during the early part of the 1900s. 

The setting of the story is critical to its theme - the untenable suffering of its two protagonists, Jeff and Jennie Patton.  The Pattons, who are African-American, have been sharecroppers on the Greenbriar Plantation on the Delta for forty-five years.  The time of slavery is over, but the South is still a hotbed of racism; although the land is productive and fertile, the work has been exhausting, and the sharecropper system keeps its farmers mired in poverty.  Grieving for their lost children and crippled by ill-health, encroaching old age, and dwindling financial resources, Jeff and Jennie see little hope for the future.  Their best recourse in the face of insurmountable odds appears to them to be the oblivion of death.

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