Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Argelouse (ahr-geh-LOOZ). Fictional small town in an isolated part of southwestern France, largely abandoned, except for some tenant farmers and two prominent families, the Larroques and the Desqueyroux. Thérèse is from the former family and her husband, Bernard, from the latter. Eventually many members of the two families live a good part of their lives in Saint-Clair, where other former Argelouse families now reside.

Much of Argelouse is falling into a state of disrepair. However, it is a heavily forested region, and resin from its pine trees becomes the source of Thérèse’s income. In her late years, Thérèse learns that most of Argelouse’s pine trees have been cut down and that the town has become an even more desolate place.

Argelouse becomes Thérèse’s “prison” after she is acquitted in her trial for attempting to kill Bernard, who confines her to her room for years. Bernard’s main interest in the place derives from its being a good place for duck hunting. He returns there only for duck-hunting season.


Saint-Clair (sah[n]-klehr). Market town six miles from Argelouse, In her younger days, Thérèse often travels between the two towns, which are connected by a neglected road on which nothing more modern than a wagon can travel. However, Saint-Clair is an important stop on the railway and has a station that anyone going to Argelouse finds necessary to...

(The entire section is 433 words.)