The main settings are town, village and beach.
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The time is unclear but a good guess might be late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Steinbeck introduces us to a poor but rather pleasant simple Mexican coastal village called La Paz, probably on the Baja Peninsula. The setting gives us a little background to a place where impoverishment and contentment walk a fine line. We also quickly understand how life altering this pearl is for Kino and his family.