Angelica Gibbs’ short story “The Test” was published in 1940. The setting is probably meant to be read as contemporary to the time when the story was published. This is indicated, for example, by the fact that Marian needs to make a hand gesture to signal that she will take a left: “Marian put out her hand, swung neatly in the street” and by the inspector’s old-fashioned expression “ ‘Dog my cats!’ ”.

The events take place during one afternoon on “one of the first hot days of June”.

Physical setting

The events unfold in an unnamed state in the US. However, the driving inspector’s remarks suggest it is not a Southern state: “ ‘Well, dog my cats if I didn't think you-all came from down yondah.’ ”

There are several brief references to the physical setting: Marian is driving through “the shady suburban streets” and reaches “the boulevard (…) crowded with cars headed for the beaches.”. This suggests that it is a relatively affluent area, which implicitly suggests that it is also a predominantly white area. Segregation in the US in the 1940s did not allow many African Americans access to well-paid jobs.

To reach th...

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