The Power of Setting

After reading both the first 88 pages of “Just Kids” and the Article on the Chelsea Hotel, the idea of setting popped into my mind. We can see that the fact that a story, whether it be fiction or not, occurs in a specific location, makes it hold a specific weight. As a matter of fact, aren’t we taking a course titled “The Art’s in New York City?” The class would merely be a lecture if it werent for the in.

Just Kids is a perfect example of just this. Patti and Robert, meet because of, and are shaped by, the culture of the city in which they lived. Music, art, photography; what makes these forms of expression special are the fact that they are products of the environment in which they are manifested. The “starving artist” story is all to familiar in New York, and no exception in the events told in this work.

More specifically , the setting that seemed the most prominent so far is was the Chelsea Hotel. This cultural mecca was a home to dozens of the most famous American artists, musicians, and writers. The hotel has been mentioned by everyone from Madonna to Bob Dylan, an seems to be almost the Mickey Mouse Club of the Mid twentieth century, by that I mean; a grouping that seemed to filter the stars of tomorrow. Further Reading: (

For me, it is too soon to tell how the setting of Just Kinds will influence the story but i am excited to see how the world held within New York will continue to impact Patti Smith.

-John W. Cleary