Among the Hidden: Setting & Characters

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  • 0:03 Brief Background
  • 0:54 Setting: Unknown
  • 1:55 Luke Garner
  • 2:39 Luke's Family
  • 3:16 Jen Talbot
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Melissa Iturralde

Melissa is an elementary/middle school teacher and has a master's degree in educational leadership.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the characters and setting of ''Among the Hidden'' by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This novel takes place during a dystopian era, placing its characters under control of their government. The novel primarily focuses on Luke Garner and Jen Talbot, who unwrap the truth of their society.

Brief Background

The setting of the novel Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is completely controlled by the Population Police under a totalitarian government. This type of government dictates every aspect of the citizens' lives under its rule. For example, the government only allows two children born into each family, and it monopolizes the community by taking away land, among other things.

Families having more than two children are forced to hide their third-born child for fear of severe consequences. The hidden children are labeled Shadow Children because they are forced to hide in the shadows of their own homes. Luke Garner, the main character, is the third born into his family. He lives in the darkness of his home to avoid being discovered, that is, until he meets Jen. Let's look more closely at the setting and characters of Among the Hidden.

Setting: Unknown

Margaret Peterson Haddix doesn't disclose the exact location of this novel, but there are general details that help us visualize where the plot takes place. We know that the Garner family lives in a desolate and heavily wooded area with land to raise farm animals. For most of the novel, Luke's home is the only setting he knows. We, as readers, see his kitchen and stairs to the second floor, where he often has to sit to eat dinner while the rest of his family eats together at the dinner table. We see his attic, where he spends most of his time during the day and sleeps at night. He often peers out of the slots of the attic window into the woods.

At one point in the novel, the government tears down trees in the wooded area by Luke's home to build a development of homes for the Barons, the wealthy, upper class. It is at this point in the novel that Luke's world expands. Through the attic window, he spots a girl in the window of a Baron's new home while everyone is either at work or school. This tempts him to explore his surroundings for the first time in his life.

Luke Garner

Let's learn more about Luke. Luke is the twelve-year-old Shadow Child of his family. This fact limits nearly everything he's allowed to do. He must remain in his home because the risk of being seen is far too great for his family and him. His brothers, Mark and Matthew, attend school and live ordinary lives outside of their home. Luke's timid nature makes it easy for his family to conceal him. He obeys his parents, showing them love and affection, and accepts that his place is in the shadows.

When Luke spots a girl in a nearby home from his attic window, we see a new side of his personality. He takes a risk and steps out of his comfort zone, his home. He eventually musters up the courage to sneak over to his neighbor's house where he meets Jen Talbot.

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