What explicitly stated details help you to determine the setting in "A Christmas Memory"?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There are several details in “A Christmas Memory” which indicate to the reader that the setting of this story is in a southern state during the depression era.  One detail is when Capote mentions a “pecan grove.”  Pecans are usually raised in the south.

"The narrator of the story tells the reader to ''imagine a morning in late November" more than twenty years ago. The scene is a kitchen of a rambling house in a small rural town in the 1930s."

“a sinful (to quote public opinion) fish-fry and dancing café down by the river.”  “ As we approach his café (a large log cabin festooned inside and out with chains of garish-gay naked light bulbs and standing by the river’s muddy edge under the shade of river trees where moss drifts through the branches like gray mist) our steps slow down.”

This again indicates somewhere in the South because this moss only grows in the Southern states.  A third example is when Buddy is telling the reader to whom they give the cakes. 

“Or Abner Packer, the driver of the six o’clock bus of Mobile, who exchanges waves with us everyday…” “

"Once a car stops and the rich mill owner’s lazy wife leans out and whines: ’Give ya two bits cash for that tree.” 

This information with all the other hints tell us that the setting is in Southern United States, in a small mill town, during the depression.

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The author goes into great detail in the first paragraphs of the story to convey a very special setting, a memory from childhood that he has embellished.

Capote describes the kitchen in a comfortable country house. You can almost feel the roaring fire in the fireplace, as the boy tells the story.  The setting has a rural charm to it, the black stove, the fireplace, the rocking chairs, they all suggest a country lifestyle. 

In the first few paragraphs, he identifies the setting, the characters and the time period.

"Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town." (Capote)

"A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar." (Capote)

"The person to whom she is speaking is myself. I am seven; she is sixty-something, We are cousins, very distant ones, and we have lived together—well, as long as I can remember."    (Capote)


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