Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*New York City

*New York City. City that represents the contradiction of opposites that must be annihilated for the self to emerge, and the spiritual and physical settings of the novel, ultimately, become the symbols and instruments imperative to crush and rebuild the false, imposed dream of society into the truthful vision of the artist. New York is a huge tomb, and among the human ants and human lice his “microcosmic life” is a reflection of the “outer chaos.”

Henry’s friends serve as dimensions of Henry himself that must be abandoned or transformed, and his long walks through New York’s streets and stores (Bloomingdale’s is an emblem of sickness and emptiness) become inner philosophical meditations on sex, death, religion, racism, and politics. He constructs spiritual universes within spiritual universes that harbor galaxies of doubts, fears, hopes, denials, and affirmations that explode and reform through annihilation and rebirth.

Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company

Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company. New York City company for which Henry works, hiring and firing messengers and other exploited workers. The company is heartless and inefficient, and mirrors, as does Henry’s job, the degradation imposed by the city on those who work simply to survive. The company, like the city and America, is a Darwinian jungle. Henry resists and plays Robin Hood, the mark of his defiant nature, evident since his childhood in Brooklyn....

(The entire section is 609 words.)