Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Chicago. City of the street tough Studs Lonigan’s birth, youth, and eventual death. From 1916 to 1931, Chicago goes through significant changes. Once insulated into distinct ethnic neighborhoods with the different racial components seriously “turf” conscious, it gradually becomes more racially, culturally, and politically diversified, and the subsequent changes play havoc with Studs’s self-esteem. The political corruption and petty crime that allow Studs to see himself as a self-proclaimed tough guy shift as he grows older. The adult responsibilities he is forced to take on during the Great Depression wreck his confidence in himself. Throughout his life, however, the streets of Chicago remain the one constant in his life even as they evolve; they hold Studs to what he has been and hopes to become.

*Fifty-eighth and Indiana Avenue

*Fifty-eighth and Indiana Avenue. Chicago neighborhood in which young Studs and his gang hang out. From his early adolescence, this street corner is the place where Studs feels he is a force to be reckoned with; here he establishes his reputation as a tough guy. When Studs is a boy, the mostly Irish Catholic neighborhood has private homes and apartment buildings housing Irish families, and Studs can always walk down its streets and feel true to himself. In later years, when he is in his late twenties, he occasionally returns to the old neighborhood—now filled with Jewish and African American residents and no Irish—and may still be reminded of the “good old...

(The entire section is 636 words.)