Physical setting

The exact physical setting of the short story “Kittens” by Dean Koontz is never specified. We do know that the action takes place “on an American farm” (p. 424, l. 25). The story takes place in June (p. 421, l. 15) with several short flashbacks to the previous summer, autumn, and Christmas. We do not know the exact period, but references to modern elements such as Christmas lights (p. 421, l. 7-8) suggest the story takes place sometime in the twentieth century.

The main settings of the story are the river banks, Marnie’s house, and the barn. The barn could be considered a place where Marnie feels safe, until she witnesses her father drown the kittens there.

Social setting

The social setting of the short story explores several important elements. Religion is heavily present in the story, as well as child abuse and its effects on the victim.

Religion in rural America

Religion used to be – and, in some cases, still is – a very important element of rural life. The short story “Kittens” tries to bring attention to the dangers of reli...

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