*New Orleans. Louisiana city that is Joel’s hometown. It is a place where he feels isolated and alone, but one that nurtures his growing interest in the adult world. He never feels at home in New Orleans. Feeling like an outsider, he often skips school and hangs out with older, African American fruit pickers. His alienation from the gloomy city is not helped by his lack of friends and parents, and he daydreams about stowing away on a banana boat to Central America and becoming an adult with a good job in some foreign city. In his dreams, he wants to be as far away as possible from New Orleans.
Paradise Chapel. Rustic Louisiana village meant to represent rural Louisiana as a whole. During the summer, the town is a dusty place full of truck drivers transporting interstate goods. For Joel, it is a point of transition in his voyage from New Orleans to his new final destination. His genealogical attachment to the land of the American South is symbolized by the big luggage that belonged to his Confederate great grandfather. Joel is carrying a piece of history with him in a rusty and dusty town of the Deep South that pays no attention to a sensitive boy who is alienated from his own geographical roots.
Noon City. Another small Louisiana town. Upon entering Noon City, Joel has a singular experience that is tied to the mysteries and perversions of the location. The town is so rustic that it appears to belong to an era fifty or one hundred years earlier than the time in which the novel is set. The...
(The entire section is 660 words.)