Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Boston. Massachusetts city in which the Apley family has lived since the seventeenth century. The novel’s title character, George Apley, is born in his grandfather’s house on Beacon Hill in 1866 and dies in his own Beacon Street house in 1933. Except for a few trips to Europe and occasional sojourns to New York City, he rarely leaves New England during his nearly seventy years. His life is characterized by an adherence to a worldview espoused by his peers, the rarified few with Puritan forebears and inherited wealth, sometimes referred to as Boston Brahmins. These self-styled patricians inhabit a world of strictly structured social etiquette, private schools, men’s clubs with severely restricted membership, and a dogmatic devotion to tradition. This small minority of the city’s population believe themselves to be the social arbiters of the country. Despite their commitment to financial generosity to pet charities, they shield themselves from those outside their narrowly confined world, especially their immigrant neighbors. George Apley and his neighbors and friends are, because of their mind-set, as parochial and restricted by their outlook as anyone in a small village or town.

*Beacon Hill

*Beacon Hill. Residential enclave in Boston that is synonymous with wealth and privilege. This neighborhood, which is characterized by an abundance of Charles Bulfinch-designed federal style residences, is the...

(The entire section is 562 words.)