Setting is important for understanding a text's themes, plot, characters, and historical significance. Elements, such as the "time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs" (Glossary), orient the reader within the story, and provide the background for a narrative's structure. This module will focus on how to closely read settings and landscapes of historical and literary texts. Using the Our Americas Archive Partnership 1's 1876 Las Mujeres Españoles Portuguesas y Americanas or, in its English version, Spanish, Portuguese, and American Women 2, a historical overview of American, Spanish, and Portuguese women, this module will use the tropical landscapes of Central and South America as an example. While Las Mujeres is a non-fiction text, the passages selected for this module can help introduce issues of race and gender into a discussion of setting and landscape, showing how a text's themes are often reflected through an author's description of space. Finally, this module can provide ways to call students' attention to how setting informs our understanding of geography and culture.
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Figure 3.1 Las Mujeres
Title page of 1876 Las Mujeres Españoles Portuguesas y Americanas or Spanish, Portuguese, and American Women