The narrator’s description of the plague is interlaced with numerous detailed explanations and geographic anchor points, but to a non-Londonian audience these places sound very foreign (and probably even for Londonian audiences the archaic names are unfamiliar). Most confusing of all is the narrator’s discussion of the plague not having reached the City even though the people in the other End of Town were dying. For example; “It was observ’d indeed, that it did not come strait on towards us; for the City, that is to say within the Walls, was indifferent healthy still …” (Defoe, 16) and the narrator, living in Aldgate, is not yet fearful of the plague that is growing in St Giles. So is he implying that there is a City of London but there’s more city outside the City of London?
The City of London and the city called London are two very separate places, and this video should help you understand.
The map at the beginning of the book essentially encloses the city of London, and Aldgate is at the eastern end of the City. Hence exists the narrator’s initial hopes that the plague may pass him, as St Giles, where the Plague first is reported, is far outside to the west of the City of London, situated at roughly the center of London. The various churches and parishes that slowly succumb to the plague shows a steady and sure march east, then north, then back down south into the City of London.
The map of the book and the map of London produced in the mid-late 1600s correspond quite nicely and shows a painstaking realism that the author put into his story.