I would like to add on to Rachel's post of the setting. Towards the end she mentions the porch sitters and i believe that Hurston's discription how these men and women live are important to the setting and the novel. On the first page Hurston writes " These sitters had been toungless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied teir skins. But now, the sund and the bossman were gone, so the skin felt powerful and human. " This quote gives insight into the hard lives of the porch sitters. One can infer that these people live hard lives. During the day they do not own their bodies or their action. Therefor at night they say and do what they please. One may also guess that this is a small community based on the extent to which they know each others buisness and how they are disgruntled when Janie refuses to share hers. The porch sitters represent the community from which Janie came from and her conversation with Phoeby afterwards shows how Janie is different from them and possibly an outcast.