How does the setting in "Death in the Woods" affect the characters and the plot?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The setting of “Death in the Woods” is a small rural town in the late nineteenth century, “likely based on Anderson’s childhood home of Clyde, Ohio” (enotes historical context).  The setting influences the plot because it is a story of a family’s rural life.  The old woman lives “on a farm near the town” and comes to town once in a while with an old tired horse.  This is a distinct 19th century event.  These days the woman would walk or take a bus, because she is likely poor.

The fact that it is a small town also influences the plot, because the woman would not likely be otherwise noticed.

All country and small-town people have seen such old women, but no one knows much about them.

To a certain extent, the story of the woman’s body being found could happen today.  It is the rest of her life that is more dependent on the setting.