Army post. Unnamed military installation in the South that is the novel’s main setting. Because the novel is set during peacetime, the atmosphere is described as dull, one in which mundane events recur repeatedly. The layout of the army post parallels the routine events that occur on its premises. The post contains rows of officers’ tract houses, a gym, a chapel, a golf course, and swimming pools. The structure of the army post is as rigid as the rules imposed on its inhabitants. Within the boundaries of the isolated army post, a subculture emerges. This insular, dull setting makes the action that unfolds in the novel depart from routine and seem even more dramatic than if it had occurred outside the subculture that exists within the army post. The army post setting is important because it shows how the characters who live within it do not conform to socially acceptable rules, even though they reside in a very rule-oriented, regimented environment. The army post setting also provides an environment in which characters have hierarchical ranks. This situation is imperative to illustrate the complicated relationships between Captain Penderton, Private Williams, and Major Langdon. Amid structured and ordered physical surroundings and clearly defined professional ranks, the characters are all emotionally and psychologically distressed and unstable.
*American South. The narrator points out that...
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