The overall setting takes place in a country called Opium, in the near future. The first time the setting is introduced clearly is in chapter 6, "El Patron." Matt has just been rescued from the prison, and is meeting El Patron (who is Matt's original) for the first time. El Patron rambles on about his youth. He mentions his youth in Aztlan (the neighboring country), and how it was called Mexico when he was a boy (and that was probably a long time ago since El Patron is about 140 years in this chapter). This is how I knew that not only was Aztlan and Opium in South America, but it is in the near future, because it used to be called Mexico.
Before this however, I noticed a couple hints from Nancy Farmer that indicated the time and approximate location. For example, in the first chapter there is talk of clones. I knew immediately that the time setting of the book had to be somewhere in the future, because clones are not something that is very common right now or completely invented. Also, the Spanish phrases here and there such as, mi vida (which means my life) or alacran (which means scorpion), indicated to me that the “where” of the book was probably somewhere like Mexico or Spain.
As for minor settings, I talked about them a little in my Individual Blog Post #2 (go check it out here) and my group talked about them a lot more on our Litspiration Challenge #1 (which you can check out here), but I'd like to talk about their importance. I think that the smaller settings all have a bigger importance to the story than just painting a picture in our minds. Most of the places Matt has described for us (poppy fields, the Big House, etc.) so far, all seem like beautiful and good places at first. But after you really think and learn more about them, they seem much more dangerous, scary, and dark.
Farmer uses the setting/s to set a tone and atmosphere for the book - which I find to be sort of mysterious and forbidding...almost like we are never getting the whole truth - and she also sends us a message through her settings: not everything is as it seems. I also believe that Nancy Farmer is using her settings as sort of a development for Matt. As he starts to discover the real world, and all the secrets, his character is also developing more!
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