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Name: Chanell McIntosh

Class: 4W
Date: Wednesday 15th October, 2014
Teacher: Ms. Carmichael
Subject: English Language

In the story ‘Shabine’, the setting plays a very big role in developing the story. When speaking
about the setting of a story, it does not only imply to where all of the action takes place. The setting can
also include; the time period and the general environment of the characters such as religious, mental,
social and emotional conditions.

The story ‘Shabine’, begins with the main character Justine- an apparent promiscuous woman,
whom is speaking to and unknown man who is hiding in the shadows. The fact that the story starts off
set in the immediate present, while she is an adult, tells us that Justine must have had many things
happen to her in the past to confirm the theory of her being a prostitute and the mother of two
children- Silver and Gold.

As we reach midway into the story, where the setting is in the far past, we are given a deep
insight into Justine’s previous life. This setting is meant to give us valuable information so that we can
make an accurate conclusion of the character Justine. Here, we learn that Justine was the produce of an
affair between a high colored man and a black maid- Justine’s mother. We also learn that Justine was
abandoned by her father because of the manner in which she was conceived and most importantly,
because of the fact that she was a Shabine- a person who is mixed with both black and white. This
setting concludes that Justine had a tremendously hard life since her conception.

The next setting we encounter is at both Justine’s and the narrator’s residence. Between both 1
houses is a wall that separates them from physical interaction. This separation clarifies that there was a
great social and racial division between the white and black society. One such example is after World
War II, where there was little to no interaction between blacks and white.

The last setting that we encounter is at Riverside road. At the end of ‘Shabine’, the narrator-
who is the unknown man from the beginning of the story is sitting in the front room of his
grandmother’s house, when he suddenly catches the scent of paradise plum. This is a sweet which he
gave to Justine since they were young children, as a means of courting her. He then follows the scent
only to see his beloved Justine, who is staring longingly at the river which also separated them for many
years. This river however, has some other significant meaning. It represents what can be called a ‘death
sentence’ for Justine. Reason being, is because this very setting was where all bad things had happened
to her. Here she faced the betrayal of her mother, the shunning from society and also the abandonment
of her father. So there she stood, pregnant, her stomach full of Gold, staring at that very river,
contemplating on whether or not she should end her life, when she reminded of her forbidden love due
to his presence.

In conclusion, the many settings in the story ‘Shabine’ are quite essential in our process of
understanding it. We are given information from the many flashbacks and also from the present which
allows us to thoroughly analyze this story.