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What exactly is place? It sounds like an easy question. There can be a place (or a setting) of a story. Without the setting, it would be hard to make a story. Place could be a real coordinate on earth such as Raleigh, North Carolina. Place could be the dialect of a certain area in the United States. Or place could be the space in which you live your day-to-day life. All of this could be true and probably is. Knowing that, how does place work in stories?

The Woman Who Believed in Jaguars is a story, so it should have place in it. Ruth is a character who lived through having a miscarriage of her first child. This is a life experience and touches all aspects of her life. She never moves on from this loss and ends up collecting posters of missing children. Using these two pieces of information, this should mean that Ruth is searching for these missing children in hopes of finding one so she can use that as a filler to help fill her own loss. When years of searching for the children fail, she begins her search for the jaguars in South Carolina.

Because of her miscarriage in the beginning of the story, she searches for lost things. Like a career, this makes up a person. So, Ruth could believe that her place in the world is to search for these lost things. So this element of the story could also be an element of place.

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