Llareggub (yah-REH-guhb). Small fishing village on the coast of Wales. Despite the name’s Welsh appearance, it is actually a typical Thomas joke—“bugger all,” spelled backward. The phrase is a vulgar colloquialism which means “nothing” or “worthless” in British English—Thomas’s way of suggesting that the play’s actions be taken lightly.
Thomas seems to have modeled the village on the real Welsh coastal village of Laugharne, where he lived for many years. Despite his joking name for Llareggub, his play treats the village with love. The Milk Wood trees on the hills above it, its streets and lanes (Goosegog Lane, Coronation Street), its River Dewi—all such details suggest Thomas’s interest in making a realistic, if sometimes comic, territory for his characters, themselves sometimes comic, to inhabit. Although village life may be universal, characters such as Organ Morgan, with his passion for the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Reverend Eli Jenkins, whose passion is poetry, bear the stereotypes of the Welsh character.
Like the people who live there, Llareggub is defined by the sea. Its pub is the Sailors Arms; retired Captain Cat lives in Schooner House; and always in the background of the play’s action is the bay itself, bobbing with its fleet of fishing boats.
Milk Wood. Wooded area in the hills above Llareggub. To Thomas, Milk Wood is a place of wonder and love. To old Mary Ann Sailors, humble in her faith, it is God’s garden, the proof of Eden, a heaven on earth, and her belief is that Llareggub is the Chosen Land. To the restless, night-haunted village boys and girls it is the bridal bed of secret love. To the Reverend Eli Jenkins it is a sermon in green, wind-shaken leaves on the innocence and goodness of humanity.