Wicomico. Small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (most likely patterned on the actual town of Salisbury) where the novel’s plot unfolds amid a commonplace backdrop. John Barth gives slight description of the town itself, merely noting that it has little character. A typical mid-Atlantic town of the mid 1950’s, Wicomico’s main importance is that it provides an appropriately bland external setting for the highly charged internal and interpersonal dramas which occur in the book.
Jacob Horner’s room
Jacob Horner’s room. Boardinghouse room rented by Jacob Horner, the novel’s main character, in a house near the college where he teaches. There Joe and Rennie Morgan confront Horner after the first time he and Rennie have sex and where the couple continue to commit adultery on a regular basis at Joe Morgan’s insistence. Symbolically, despite the fact that the room is the site of many of the novel’s dramatic scenes, it is a bare, almost barren setting. The room is large, with high ceilings, big windows and a large bed high off the floor, all of which fit Horner’s hard-to-please requirements. It houses Horner’s few possessions, including his records, all Mozart except for a single Russian dance, a combination that matches his psychological mood. The most notable features are a rocking chair on which Horner sometimes sits for hours, hardly moving or thinking, and a small statue of the Greek mythological character Laocoön which sits on the mantelpiece. This statue becomes a symbolic representation of...
(The entire section is 646 words.)