Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Beacon Hill. Residential enclave in Boston that is synonymous with wealth and privilege. This neighborhood, which is characterized by an abundance of Charles Bulfinch-designed federal style residences, is the primary home of George Apley and most of his friends and colleagues. Although it is close to the Boston Common, the Public Gardens, and the immigrant neighborhoods just over the crest of the hill, it stands socially aloof from the rest of Boston during the period in which this novel is set.
*Harvard University. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636, Harvard is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States. It serves, in the novel as a microcosm of Boston elitism and is the only college Apley and his peers consider worthy of attending. Students in his day are quickly funneled into its strict social hierarchy, epitomized in its club system. Membership in the right club is more important to these Bostonians than even academic achievement.
Pequod Island. Fictional Maine island owned by Apley that could be any one of several small islands located off Maine’s coast. For Apley, who buys and furnishes this private island as a vacation retreat, it is a means of escape that is acceptable to his Boston peers. Life on the island is relatively rustic and simple–despite the presence of servants like the local young women hired each season to serve as waitresses in the dining hall. Routines on the island are, nevertheless, nearly as structured as those in the city. From the rising bell at 6:30 a.m. to the formal evening reports of the day’s activities, summer islanders are ruled by their Bostonian loyalty to structure.
*New York City. Great metropolitan center about 175 miles southwest of Boston that functions, in its role as a modern cosmopolitan city, as a foil to the manners and mores of Boston. In a letter to his wife, Apley claims that Bostonians in New York seem like strangers in a foreign city. When he and his Boston neighbors visit New York, they always stay in the same hotel, thus assuring themselves of congenial and like-minded company who can shield them from the excesses and familiarity of non-New Englanders.