The setting of the novel is crucial to the story. The first chapter takes place in Eatonville, an all black community in the South during the 1930s. Because of this, all of the characters in this chapter are African American. Also, since this is the town that Janie grew up in, all of the people there already know her and what she used to be like. The houses and way of life that the setting describes make up most of this chapter. The women gather in the evenings after cooking dinner for their families and gossip. The fact that all the women know each other and most of what goes on to everyone in the area shows how tight knit their town is. The time period is evident through how the wives don’t work and cook for their families.
The calm evening of the first chapter also helps to set the mood. With the women all gossiping on a porch as they usually do, and Janie’s return home, it seems to be a calm change from the norm of what usually occurs in that town. The mood for a story to be told is set when Janie is sitting on her porch calmly with Phoebe.