Where does The Twenty-One Balloons take place?  

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of The Twenty-One Balloons is an interesting one.  Let's talk about the exceptions to the rule first.  The story is framed by San Francisco (in that the story begins and ends there).  There is also an interesting side-trip to New York City on the eastcoast of the United States.  However, the main place the story is set is on Krakatoa, anisland found in the Pacific Ocean that was totally destroyed by volcanic activity in 1883.  Du Bois sets his tale shortly before the island's destruction, of course, focusing on a fictional, Utopian society and how they adjust to the tectonic activity of the area through cooperation.  In addition to seeing the obvious towering volcano on the island, the inhabitants often hear rumbling noises and feel the resulting shift of the land.  They must learn to balance themselves on this unstable land.  The natives stay, however, often because of the diamond mines found on Krakatoa.  As a smaller element of setting, one must also  mention the strange House of Marvels.  This place holds many interesting inventions most appropriate of which involves a circle of balloons holding boats aloft.