The Face on the Milk Carton

by Caroline B. Cooney, Caroline Bruce

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What is the setting of "The Face on the Milk Carton" and what mood does it create?

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The setting of The Face on the Milk Carton takes place in 1980s Connecticut in a middle class, suburban neighborhood. The book begins during the fall season, which also creates a sense of nostalgia about family-oriented holidays. Little Janie Johnson and her family are close friends with the next-door neighbors and all seems as it should be. The setting creates a sense of economic, social, and familial stability and middle class normality. Through these descriptions, the setting creates a false illusion of security for the readers as they are introduced to the seemingly ordinary life of Janie Johnson. When Janie discovers that her seemingly normal and stable life may not be as it seems, the setting serves to contrast sharply with this discovery.

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The setting is in suburban Connecticut, and among the wealthy. This New England feel during the early fall makes football season feel right there and on the verge of beginning to happen. I can just imagine a New England autumn to be illuminated by beautiful reds, oranges, yellows, and even some browns. The author typically writes for a current audience with a current modern day perspective.

The mood that this creates is one of security and comfort. With the time of year being particularly expressed, it is a time for new routines and warm reunions after a summer break. This feeling tricks the reader into believing nothing could go wrong.

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