The setting is very important to the plot. It is central to the characters' ways of life. Dee, the oldest daughter, has moved to the city, and is living a completely different life than her mother and her sister, Maggie. Mama and Maggie live in a rural area and live in a humble home with only cutouts for windows in the home. They have what they need to survive and not much more, but they are very happy with their lives. Dee is also happy with her life, although it is very different from her mother's and sister's. The story is also set during a time when a return to African roots was very important for African-American people. There was political and social strife during this time period, as well, including the civil rights movement and the women's rights movement. Without the collision of the two worlds, Dee's vs. Maggie's and her mother's, the story wouldn't be what it is.