*Rio de Janeiro
*Rio de Janeiro. Capital city of Brazil in which most of the novel is set. In keeping with Braz Cubas’s general lack of interest in his surroundings, Rio is depicted only in the vaguest and most generic terms; readers will be unable to form any precise visual image of what the city looks like. Although the narrative does involve travel between various locations in the city, exteriors are almost completely ignored in favor of moderately detailed attention to those interiors within which important plot events take place.
Cubas’s house. Secluded home of Cubas that serves as the love nest he shares with his childhood sweetheart Virgilia, who has made an unhappy marriage that propels her back into Cubas’s embraces. Their initial meetings occur at her home, where the unpredictable whereabouts of the servants make discovery a constant danger. Thus the establishment of a separate trysting place is both prudent and an emotional necessity for Cubas. So far as he is concerned, their cozy retreat is a symbol of his possession of Virgilia, a place where his ownership of the furnishings signifies his control over what happens amid them. For a while he even envisions the house as a kind of Eden on earth, although the passage of time and the intrusion of the outside world will eventually reduce it—as everything else in the novel is similarly reduced—to merely another example of life’s failure to live up to expectations.
(The entire section is 625 words.)