Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Den. Place where the narrator lies down and begins to dream the story of Christian at the beginning of part 1. Bunyan was undoubtedly remembering the jail on Bedford Bridge where he was confined for preaching illegally, thus putting his religious convictions ahead of his family responsibilities, just as Christian does when he leaves his wife and children behind.

City of Destruction

City of Destruction. Christian’s home until he becomes convinced that because they have not accepted Christ, all the residents of the city are damned. When he leaves the city in part 1, his wife refuses to follow him. However, after having a change of heart in part 2, she and her four sons take the same road on which Christian has previously traveled.

Slough of Despond

Slough of Despond (sloo). Bog into which Christian falls, based on the notorious sloughs on the road to Hockley, Bedfordshire. The Slough of Despond symbolizes the paralyzing depression experienced by pilgrims when they realize that they deserve to be damned for their sins. God sends a spiritual guide named Help to point out the steps that lead out of the Slough of Despond.

*Mount Sinai

*Mount Sinai (SI-ni). Mountain in the Holy Land identified in the Bible as the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Mount Sinai lies near a town named Morality, where Mr. Worldly Wiseman tells Christian that he can learn how to reach Heaven simply by following a set of rules. Thus Bunyan voices his objection to the Church of England, which takes a more formal approach to religion than his highly emotional sect. When Mount Sinai flashes fire, Christian knows that he is being warned away from Morality and returns to the right road.

House of the Interpreter

House of the Interpreter. Way station where both Christian and Christiana receive both hospitality and instruction. This is one of a number of places on their road where Bunyan’s travelers are strengthened in body and in spirit. It is significant that his description of this house matches that of the rectory of St. John Baptist in Bedford, where Bunyan himself sought...

(The entire section is 916 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Pilgrim's Progress is written in the "similitude of a dream"; Bunyan recounts a dream in which he views the progress or journey of...

(The entire section is 452 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Pilgrim's Progress is a work which looks backward to earlier traditions and ahead to the work of later writers. The specific...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Readers should be aware that The Pilgrim's Progress is a specifically Christian work. At times the doctrines proclaimed here may lead...

(The entire section is 293 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. It is often said that Bunyan's characters are universal; that is, they are human types that can be found in all times and places. Can you...

(The entire section is 159 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. The word "progress" in The Pilgrim's Progress means a journey, specifically Christian's and Christiana's. How do they differ? Which...

(The entire section is 191 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Three other works by Bunyan that may interest the general reader are The Life and Death of Mr. Badman, The Holy War, allegories...

(The entire section is 105 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Kaufman, U. Milo. "The Pilgrim's Progress" and Traditions in Puritan Meditation. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966....

(The entire section is 229 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Bunyan, John. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Edited by Roger Sharrock. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. This earlier autobiography (1666) lays the foundation for Bunyan’s allegory.

Collmer, Robert G. Bunyan in Our Time. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1989. A collection of distinguished literary criticism and appraisals of Bunyan. Includes essays on his use of language, satire and its biblical sources, and The Pilgrim’s Progress as allegory. Of particular interest are the essays on Marxist perspectives on Bunyan and a comparison between Bunyan’s...

(The entire section is 464 words.)