Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Virginia. Southern state in which Aleck spends his early years. His first memories are of the woods and pastures he sees from his doorway. Always the dark woodland calls him, with the “hallooing” of its hunters, the baying of their hounds, mingling risk with the scent of rain-soaked forest. Dogs and men share these adventures, both sniffing the air and communicating in sounds and gestures. As he reaches adulthood, Aleck attends the University of Virginia in Charlottesville—the institution founded by Thomas Jefferson for young gentlemen. Aleck is not a rogue, but he begrudges the time he spends cooped up in lecture rooms, from which he can hear the hounds in the distance. He receives the education befitting a gentleman, learns his classics, and scans blank verse, and eventually graduates honorably, but without a dollar in his pocket or any idea of how to make one.


Oakland. Mississippi town just south of Memphis, Tennessee, in which Aleck accepts a position as president of a small seminary. Oakland is in a swampy lowland with patches of cotton fields. Aleck’s quest for income to feed a growing family and, more importantly, to find satisfactory hunting grounds takes him to several states during the course of his life, but it is finally in Mississippi that he is offered his opportunity for strongest professional growth. Pleased to discover that the seminary is already competently managed by an...

(The entire section is 584 words.)