Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide
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"Collected Stories" by Jean Stafford
• Betty Friedan leads Women's Strike for Equality march
• Senate votes to return 48,000 acres to Taos Indians
• Urban Mass Transit Act requires wheel chair lifts
A DUI boyfriend and a car wreck disfigured Jean Stafford’s face in 1939. Like the character Pansy, she spent painful weeks in a hospital and endured reconstructive surgery.
Featured Reader Wanted!
– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.
Short Story: "The Interior Castle:" Disfigured car accident victim's hospital stay
ENT surgeon from the days of primitive anesthesia crams cocaine-soaked gauze pads up both of Pansy’s nostrils.
A young woman is disfigured in a car crash and the focus of the story is not how she feels about her appearance.
Read back-to-back, 31 stories told in 512 pages feels like a lot. An individual story like “The Interior Castle” feels, well, short at 20 pages.
Empathy. Terror can follow extreme pain. People don’t always have the bandwidth for interaction.
Disconnected staff in a “bland and commonplace” Boston Hospital interact with young accident victim.
Serve food that someone recovering from facial reconstructive surgery could enjoy. No talk of hospitals or cars; instead recall a couple of memorable occasions when you had tea.
“She had no extra strength to spend on making herself known to them.”
A super homey, non-institutional recovery setting.
What’s the compassionate way to interact with someone who is clearly in extreme pain?
What obligations does a patient have to caregivers?
What should be the focus of a doctor’s communication with a patient?
What do nurses do to make a person feel cared for as an individual?
How have medical advancements changed the hospital experience from a pain perspective? From an experiential perspective?
Go to Boston when it’s freezing and visit the Museum of Medical History and Innovation. Consider how healthcare has changed since 1939 and what changes are needed now.
“The Hope Chest” from Collected Stories was made into a 30-minute film in 1952.
Jean Stafford published five short fiction collections.