The setting of a story takes the reader into the place of the story. The book “Shahana” written by Hawke is a fictional novel, but it takes place in a true setting. The situation around the protagonist Shahana is very close to the reality. This novel explains how it is for a teenage girl to live close to the border and a war. The setting is crucial for the story in this novel.
The novel is set in Azad Kashmir on the Pakistan side of the “Line of control”, also called LoC. She is living in a conflict zone, where she can see soldiers frequently. The Kashmir conflict started in 1942 and is still ongoing. Kashmir is a dangerous place to live and especially on the line of control. Former president of United States, Bill Clinton said in March 2000 to BBC:
“The most dangerous place in the world today, I think you could argue, is the Indian subcontinent and the line of control in Kashmir” -Bill Clinton
Shahana is a teenage girl which is living in a conflict zone. This novel tells us how a commoner is living in Pakistan where norms, customs and traditions are very important.
The social environment is fundamental to the story because the cultural aspect is important in the community she lives in. For example, Shahana saves Zahid a boy from India. In a Muslim home, you cannot let unrelated males live in your home, but Shahana breaks the norms. She is also having an Indian in her residence who is a person from “the enemy´s side”.
My life is completely different from Shahana´s. because I have, education and I am living a peaceful life. I am so privileged to go to school every day, whereas Shahana has lost this opportunity. I live in a place where it is very peaceful and there is no war, but Shahana is living close to the border and she is living a dangerous life. Since I live in Norway I have the freedom to do as I want and I have equal opportunities. On the other hand, Shahana does not have this freedom because she lives in a place where the culture decides what she can do and not do.
The plot takes place in the present because this is how it is in Pakistan today. For instance, this book tells us about half-widows. They are women who had lost their husbands, but they are not sure if he is dead. These women are treated unethically by the society because they do not have legal entitlements for being a widow so their rights are compromised. Since the book tells us about the present we know that this is the life of many children on the India-Pakistan border and this is also the lives of many children that are living in conflict zones such as Syria and Yemen.
The setting of the story is essential for the plot because without the setting that is featured in this story the story would not make any sense. This book is an eye-opener for different global issues such as child labour, poverty, child marriage and orphans. This book is not just an entertainment novel, because this novel is describing how children are suffering in wars.