Places Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 656

Pointz Hall

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Pointz Hall. Ancestral home of the Olivers in southern England. As the house bears a weight of historical symbolism, it needs to be seen clearly. It is middle-sized, as English manor houses go, whitish, attractive to passersby, but oddly situated, facing north, away from the sun, and standing low in its meadow so that it suffers in winter. In that way, it is atypical, not quite fully English. Its furniture is mid-Victorian, and thus out of date—contrasting with the furnishings and modern bathrooms that the newly rich coming down from London, such as the Manresas, have put into the old houses they have bought.

Pointz Hall has a principal staircase, but the other staircase is not much more than a ladder at the back of the house, intended for the servants and therefore making a statement about the English class system. On the bottom floor of the hall is a main room, looking out to the garden, where guests are entertained. There is also a library containing histories of England and the world, histories of the local world, and volumes of English poetry. However, there are also pulp novels that houseguests have left. Thus, the past and the present (seemingly a decline) are put side by side. Also downstairs are the kitchen and the larder. However, before the Reformation the larder had been a chapel, so that the house connects with the old religion, Roman Catholicism, and once more shows the passage of time. Upstairs are bedrooms and a nursery. Here is Lucy Swithin’s room, where she is reading an outline of history that tells her that England had been, millions of years before, one with Europe. Lucy’s book and the nursery, with its children, are once more contrasts and connections between the past and the present.

Sitting in its hollow, the house faces a terrace that is the stage for the village pageant. However, the terrace is surrounded by trees and shrubs that continually remind one of ties to the land. When the villagers act out their pageant of English history, they continually move in and out among the trees, once again connecting the present with the past and with the sacred.

Barn

Barn. The estate’s barn is immense, possessing a great central room that is lit brilliantly when its doors are opened. Made of the same stone as the village church, it has been likened to a temple by visitors who have been to Greece. The barn is the centerpiece of the farm, the old agricultural and somehow sacred world, but a world gradually being eaten away by the modern.

Village

Village. Unnamed village near Pointz Hall; it is never seen in the novel—apart from its church tower—but is continually referred to, especially in telling what the actors in the village’s historical pageant do in their real lives. The village has elements of modernity—shops anda post office, for instance. However, the villagers’ roots go back for centuries, and their names can be found in the eleventh century Domesday Book of William the Conqueror—in contrast to the newly arrived Manresa family, representatives of the modern. Even the surrounding countryside, with an old Roman road where the county council proposes to build a communal cesspool, rather ironically puts past and present side by side.

Terrace

Terrace. Area directly in front of Pointz Hall on which members of gentry sit to watch the...

(The entire section contains 836 words.)

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