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A Growing Database of Literary Maps

Our database of Literary Maps, as shown below, is available to professors and teachers upon request. Please contact Geoff Golson at golsonmedia@gmail.com to receive pdf files. The database and number of maps are growing, so please check back to see what's new. Below are maps and expanded captions for the following works of literature (double-click on the title to jump to that map):

 

      Maps and Texts Available Now

  1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  2. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

  3. The Sun Also Rises 1 by Ernest Hemingway (country maps)

  4. The Sun Also Rises 2 (Paris at Night)

  5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

  6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  7. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

       Maps and Texts in Work and Available Soon

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  3. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

  4. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

  5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

  6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Color Purple

Numbers and locations on map key to the text below.

NATIVE GEORGIA

The early portion of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, for which she won both a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Award, is set in her native Georgia. Although the novel never identifies the town in which the novel takes place, it is assumed that it was based on Eatonton ("1" on the map above) where Walker was born on February 9, 1944, to sharecroppers Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. Two Georgia cities mentioned in the novel help to provide an actual location for Celie and Nettie, the two sisters who are the main focus of the novel: the centrally located city of Milledgeville (2), which is some 20 to 25 miles south of Eatonton, and the capital city of Atlanta (3), which is the largest city in the state and the home of Spelman College where Walker began her college education.

 

When the novel begins, 14-year old Celie is writing a letter to God in which she talks about being raped by the man she thought was her father. By the time she is “around twenty,” Celie has suffered years of sexual and physical abuse. She has also given birth to a daughter and a son, and she thinks they were killed or sold. Those births have left Celie sterile. She is then given to a widower with four children who had asked to marry her younger sister Nettie. The man who Celie calls Mr. ___ continues to abuse her, as do his children. When Nettie tells her to stand up to her abusers, Celie answers, “But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.” 

Mr. ____ (Albert) forces Nettie to leave when she refuses his advances and tells her that she will never see Celie again. Without Nettie, Celie’s world is made up of her home, her new family, the fields in which she labors, and her church. However, when Mr. ___ brings his sick mistress home to be nursed back to health, Celie finds both a friend and lover in the glamorous singer who is not afraid to stand up to Albert. It is Shug Avery who learns that Albert has been keeping Nettie’s letters from Celie, and she and Celie steal the letters, discovering that Nettie has gone to Africa as a missionary with the minister and his wife who have adopted both of Celie’s children. 

TRAVELS TO EUROPE AND AFRICA

Parts of the novel are written from Nettie’s perspective as she writes Celie of traveling from Georgia (4) to South Carolina (5) to the “beautiful city” of New York (6), where she is fascinated by Harlem, where “colored people [drive] in more fancy motor cars than I thought existed and [live] in houses that are finer than any white person’s house down home.”

Sailing on the Malaga from New York, Nettie and her new family arrive in London, England (7), where the English serve a tea that “is really a picnic indoors” and where African Americans eat out of the “the same cups and plates” as their white hosts. From Southampton (8), they sail to Lisbon, Portugal (9), and then to Dakar, Senegal (10), which is full of “shining blueblack people wearing brilliant blue robes with designs like fancy quilt patterns.”

 

Two months later, the party arrives in Monrovia, Liberia (11), which was founded by former American slaves. From Monrovia, the party travels for four days to the fictional Olinka village where the people have lived for thousands of years. Among the Olinka, Nettie finds a male-dominated culture somewhat similar to that of the African American community. Nettie spends the next three decades of her life in Africa. The minister’s wife Corrine dies, and Nettie and the minister, Samuel, later marry. After the village is bought by a rubber planter and the Olinkas are forced into a new way of life, the couple returns to the United States, along with Olivia and Adam and his Olinka wife, Tashi. By that time, the United States has become embroiled in World War II, and Celie receives a telegram, telling her the ship has been sunk by German mines near Gibraltar. Celie refuses to believe that Nettie is dead. 

Back in Georgia, Celie has developed a revolutionary spirit in response to learning that Albert has kept her sister’s letters from her. She wants to kill him, but Shug convinces her to move to Memphis, Tennessee (12), with her and her husband Grady. As Celie leaves Albert, she tells him, “I’m pore, I’m black. I may be ugly and can’t cook… But I’m here.” It is in Memphis that Celie finds her calling and establishes Folkspants, Unlimited, after she begins making pants designed for particular people. Celie is devastated, however, when Shug falls in love with a 19-year-old boy. Celie learns that her step-father has died, and both the house in which she grew up, and the dry goods store that Alphonso ran, belong to Celie and Nettie since they were the property of their biological father who had been hanged for being too “uppity.” The novel ends with a family reunion and on a note of hope, “And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt. Amen.” 

FURTHER READINGS

“Alice Walker.” Biography.com. Web. 27 April 2017. https://www.biography.com/people/alice-walker-9521939?

     _escaped_fragment_= Accessed 5 October 2017. 

Kimmich, Allison. “Alice Walker: Overview.” in Feminist Writers, edited by Pamela Kester-Shelton. St James Press, 1996. 

Robinson, Cynthia Cole. “The Evolution of Alice Walker.” Women’s Studies, April/May 2009, 38.3, 293-311. 

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. Boston and New York: Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1982.

Walker, Alice. “Alice Walker: The Official Web Site.” Web. September 2017. http://alicewalkersgarden.com/ Accessed 5

     October 2017. 

Essay by Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy, Ph.D.

The Last of the Mohicans

Numbers and locations on map key to the text below.

 

THE 18th CENTURY FRONTIER

Set during the French and Indian War (1754–1763), James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826) begins in the wilderness of the colonial province of New York in 1757. Cooper opens the novel with detailed descriptions of the setting and thus establishes the importance of geography to the narrative. His use of authentic details helps to anchor his sometimes-implausible plot and at times mythic presentation of the frontier, situated in what is now northwestern New York State and into Canada.  

 

Cooper writes that Lake Champlain stretches like “a lengthened sheet” from the frontier of present-day Canada far southward into New York. French forces from the north plan to attack Fort William Henry (“1” on the map), a British military camp located on Lake George (2), at the southern end of Lake Champlain (3). That the Indians call this lake the Horicon—not Lake George, as the English do—suggests that the land and the right to name it are contested. 

     

DEEPER IN THE FOREST

In the novel’s opening chapters, Magua, the Native American scout, leads Alice and Cora Munro and Major Duncan Heyward from Fort Edward (4), at the headwaters of the Hudson River, to Fort William Henry along a little known path through the forest. The trail is apparently quicker, though less certain, than the major military road used by the British forces. Soon after departing, David Gamut unexpectedly joins them. At the same time, we learn that Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas are “deeper” in the forest, “a few miles to the westward” along a “small but rapid stream.” All of the characters soon converge at this location. 

 

After Magua escapes into the forest, evading a confrontation over his suspected treason, the group retreats to the Mohicans’ secret hideout at Glens Falls on the Hudson (5). The hiding spot is in a “cavern” on an island with waterfalls on both sides. Heyward promises never to reveal its location. As always, Cooper’s careful description of the landscape amplifies the novel’s motifs and themes.

 

When Magua and the Hurons eventually discover them and attack, Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Uncas escape in the river, while the others retreat to the depths of a second cave before being captured and taken into the forest. Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Uncas, however, secretly track the Hurons for twenty miles to the location of today’s Ballston, New York (6), about 40 miles south of Lake George, where they fight the Hurons and free the captives. Afterward, they travel northward again toward Fort William Henry. Along the way they stop in “a decayed blockhouse,” a small, military fort, hidden deeply in the forest (7). Chingachgook and Hawkeye tell of the importance of the site as a memorial to a battle between the Mohawks and Mohicans. 

   

UNDER SIEGE

The group then continues onto Fort William Henry, which is under siege by the French, and Munro is reunited with his daughters. After Munro surrenders the fort to Montcalm, Magua abducts Alice, Cora, and Gamut, and takes them again into the forest. Alarmed at their absence, Hawkeye, Heyward, Munro, and the Mohicans decide to go after them. They traverse Lake George by canoe, moving from one shore to another, and successfully elude capture by the Hurons.  

 

The remainder of the novel involves the lengthy pursuit and rescue of the characters, and the plot unfolds primarily in two locales, the Huron Camp (8) and the Delaware Camp (9), with a range of movement and action taking place among and between them. With the journey into Huron territory, Cooper shifts the novel’s action into a more mythic landscape—a place where fantastic events are apt to occur and identity becomes less certain—and the characters into dangerous and more uncertain terrain. The traversing of boundaries in the landscape reflects the crossing or even transgression of social, sexual, and racial boundaries by the characters. The novel concludes in the Delaware camp with the burial of Uncas, the “last warrior of the wise race of this Mohicans!”  

 

FURTHER READINGS

 

 

 

 

Essay by Todd Goddard, Ph.D.

The Sun Also Rises (1)

Numbers and locations on map key to the text below.

PARIS TO PAMPLONA

Ernest Hemingway’s characters in The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes and Bill Gorton, make their way south from France into northwestern Spain, where they will fish and attend the Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona. They plan to meet Robert Cohn in Bayonne, before entering Spain, and Lady Brett Ashley and Mike Campbell in Pamplona.

 

Jake and Bill take a morning train from the Gare D’Orsay in Paris (“1” on the map above). They stop  first at Tours (2), where they briefly depart the train and share a bottle of wine, and stop again at Bordeaux (3), before passing through Landes, where they watch the sun set from the train window. They arrive in Bayonne (4) at around 9:00 p.m. and rendezvous with Robert. In the morning, the three set off by car for Pamplona (5) across the border into Spain, where they will await Brett and Mike’s arrival from San Sebastián (6). Along the way they pass through a series of small villages in the Basque country, across the border, and along the edge of the Pyrenees Mountains before descending onto the plateau of Pamplona.

Once in Pamplona, Jake learns that Brett and Mike are still in San Sebastián, and so he plans to leave the next morning for Burguete (7) without them. Robert decides to stay in Pamplona to await Brett and Mike’s arrival, a move indicative of his overwrought feelings for her, which are apparently unrequited and unwelcome. After they fail to arrive the following day, Cohn goes to San Sebastián, a fact that is only revealed later.

FISHING EXPEDITION

Hemingway describes Jake and Mike’s trip to Burguete in detail. The significance of the journey reflects the ritualistic importance of the  fishing expedition itself, one that arguably echoes similar ones in other stories, including Hemingway’s earlier “Big Two-Hearted River,” and both are relevant to the novel’s epigraph from Ecclesiastes. On the way, Jake and Bill observe the monastery of Roncesvalles—they will later visit it with the Englishman, Harris—which stands in symbolic juxtaposition to the  shing grounds and the Basque landscape. Together they spend five days fishing for trout in the Irati River (8).

Jake and Bill reunite with Brett, Mike, and Robert—now back from an apparently uncomfortable, jealousy-fueled time in San Sebastián—in Pamplona for the Fiesta de San Fermín, which lasts for seven days. In many ways, the Fiesta magnfies the various tensions of the novel: the jealousies, the trauma, the indulgence and excess, as well as the violence. In the aftermath of the Fiesta, the characters depart Pamplona for various destinations. Jake plans to go alone to San Sebastián for some much-needed rest. He departs together with Mike and Bill for Bayonne, where they stop for lunch before driving into Biarritz (9) for drinks. Afterward, they drive along the coast toward Hendaye. Mike decides to remain in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Jake and Bill return to Bayonne, where they part ways: Bill goes back to Paris and then returns to New York. Jake leaves by train in the morning for San Sebastián.

AN URGENT TELEGRAM

The next day he receives an urgent telegram from Brett. She is in Madrid (10) and in trouble. He leaves on the overnight “Sud Express” to Madrid—the “end of the line.” Jake meets Brett at the Hotel Montana, and after sharing several drinks the two sight-see by taxi around Madrid. The novel concludes on Madrid’s Gran Vía.

FURTHER READINGS

Essay by Todd Goddard, Ph.D.

The Sun Also Rises (2)

Numbers and locations on map key to the text below.

CITY OF LIGHT

The Sun Also Rises begins in Paris; most of the action takes place in the Montparnasse neighborhood and Latin Quarter on the Rive Gauche (“1” on the map above), the southern bank of the River Seine. Boulevard du Montparnasse (2) is one of the main avenues where Hemingway’s characters, and many writers and artists, congregated in cafés.

On a warm spring night, the novel’s characters, Jake Barnes, Robert Cohn, and Frances Cline, dine at L’Avenue’s on the Rive Droite (3), the northern river bank. And the following day, Robert visits Jake at his newspaper’s offices on the Rive Droite. They then go to Café Napolitain (4) on the Boulevard des Capucines for apéritifs, where, following Robert’s departure, Jake meets Georgette, a “poule” or prostitute.

 

Hemingway’s inclusion of specific locations and detailed travel routes in the novel, almost always precise and accurate, is significant. As his private notebooks reveal, he was intensely interested in the spatial details of Paris. We learn that Jake and Georgette travel down Avenue de L’Opéra (5) and pass the New York Herald newspaper office before crossing the traffic of the Rue de Rivoli (6), and into the “the dark gate of Tuileries” Gardens (7), where Jake declines Georgette’s sexual advances and  first mentions his “sickness,” a veiled reference to his war injury and his resulting impotence. Afterward, they cross the River Seine and onto the Rue des Saint Pères en route to Lavigne’s Nègre de Toulouse (8), a popular restaurant on the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where they dine and where Jake and Georgette decide to go dancing.

 

LADY BRETT ASHLEY

At the bal mussette (9), a dance hall on the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève, Jake first sees Lady Brett Ashley. This particular establishment, apparently popular at the time with homosexuals of both sexes, carries serious implications for Jake, whose lack of sexual potency fuels his sense of sexual ambivalence and anxiety about his masculinity. The fact that Brett appears with several gay men arguably exacerbates his anxiety. When Jake and Brett leave the dance hall, they walk to the bar next door for a drink. They call a taxi, which takes them on ride along the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève, past

the St. Etienne du Mont and the Place de la Contrescarpe, to the Rue Mouffetard and Avenue des Gobelins (10), where they kiss.

 

The significance of their previous romantic relationship is revealed during this trip. Afterward, they go to Café Select (11) on the Boulverd du Montparnasse, an important café in the novel; despite its festive façade and crowds of revelers, the Café Select proves a site of great tension and strain for a range of characters. After Café Select, Jake returns to his home on the Boulevard Saint-Michel (12), “just a little way down” from the boulevard and its many cafés.

 

In addition to Café Select, Hemingway’s characters discuss or visit the Rotonde (13), the Dôme, the Dingo, and Closerie des Lilas (14)—where Hemingway wrote much of the novel—all within a short walk in Montparnasse. Other important locales include the Jardin du Luxembourg and Île de la Cité (15). The sheer number of places points to the frenetic pace of

the characters eager to escape their pain, trauma, or torment. The Paris of these expatriates in the 1920s is bursting with creative energies, but it is also vacant, transient, and despairing. When Hemingway’s characters leave Paris by train from the Gare D’Orsay (16), Spain stands as a potential site of respite and geographic contrast to Paris.

FURTHER READINGS

Essay by Todd Goddard, Ph.D.

Beloved

Numbers and locations on map key to the text below.

THE PRESENT AND THE PAST

Toni Morrison’s Beloved begins in Cincinnati (“1” on the map above), Ohio, at 124 Bluestone Road, where Sethe and her daughter Denver have lived for 18 years, part of which was spent with Baby Suggs. The action of the novel takes place both in the present (1873; eight years after the end of the American Civil War) and the past (1850s; the decade leading up to the Civil War), with events of the past being gradually revealed through fragmented  flashbacks of memory. As with many stories about hauntings, specific places are charged with symbolism, often as sites of concentrated memory or of violence and trauma, and Sethe’s home is no different. At the age of 13, Sethe was sold to the Garners, a slave- owning family in Kentucky. Sweet Home (2), the Garner’s slave plantation, serves as an ironic reminder to Sethe that the land is not hers and that she is not at home: she is a captive and enslaved. With escape in mind, Sethe manages to send her children to Baby Sugg’s house in Cincinnati.

ESCAPE AND EXHAUSTION

After receiving a severe beating by Schoolteacher, Sethe manages to run away, but she collapses from exhaustion in the forest, where she is found and nursed back to health by Denver. She is then rowed across the Ohio River (3) by Stamp Paid and taken to Baby Sugg’s house.

 

Sethe spends 28 pleasant days at 124 Bluestone Road, living in relative freedom. On the last day, Schoolteacher discovers her, and rather than have her children returned to Sweet Home, she takes the life of her third child, her eldest daughter. Sethe is then taken briefly to jail, before being released and returned to Baby Sugg’s house, where she must confront her past.

Paul D’s story begins at Sweet Home.

After murdering Brandywine, Paul D is imprisoned in Alfred, Georgia (4), and forced to work on a chain gang made up of all black prisoners. When Paul D manages to escape during a rainstorm, he travels  first to Savannah, Georgia (5), the site of the Cherokee Camp, and then escapes northward by following the blossoming spring flowers. Eventually, he ends up in Wilmington, Delaware (6), and then finally at Sethe’s house in Cincinnati, 18 years after last seeing her.

Paul D lives with Sethe and Denver at 124 Bluestone Road, though after learning of Sethe’s violent history, he moves out and begins sleeping in the basement of a local church. Alarmed and frightened by her mother’s intensifying relationship with Beloved, Denver soon follows, leaving 124 for the first time in 12 years. Baby Suggs is born in South Carolina (7) and then brought to Sweet Home. Her son, Halle, eventually purchases her freedom, and she settles in Cincinatti. Stamp Paid is born in Mississippi (8) and travels along the Mississippi River to Memphis (9), Tennessee, before working for the underground ground railroad and  finally settling in Cincinatti. Morrison’s novel, though written more than 100 years after the end of legalized slavery, reprises many of the facets of the geographic-slave experience.

FURTHER READINGS

Essay by Todd Goddard, Ph.D.