Tales of the City Setting & Symbolism

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This hilly, architecturally beautiful California city has for decades been a symbol of freedom, rebellion, and celebration. It was never more so than in the 1970's, the time at which the narrative is set (see "Style - Setting").

This rambling old house, broken up into several apartments, is home to most of the narrative's central characters - Mary Ann, Mona, Michael, Brian, and Mrs. Madrigal. As described in narration and as viewed by the characters, it is an oasis of compassion, safety and friendship in the desert of the harsh real world.

The advertising business run by Edgar Halcyon is a hub of activity in the real-world lives of several of the characters - Edgar, Beauchamp, Mary Ann, Mona (early in the narrative) and D'orothea (later in the narrative). It can perhaps be seen as representing the cold, money-and-success obsessed real world that all these characters (and several others in...

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This section contains 633 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tales of the City Study Guide
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