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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"Tales of the South Pacific" by James A. Michener



• Kinsey's "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" published
• Executive Order: “equality of treatment in the military"
• Native American right to vote
• First computer program



As a WWII lieutenant and naval historian, Michener traveled throughout the South Pacific. Base commanders treated Michener well because they thought he was related to Admiral Marc Mitscher; Michener was an orphan who did not know the names of his parents.


Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– 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: “A Boar’s Tooth” Navy men attend ceremonial pig sacrifice.


Boar’s tooth becomes a circular ivory bracelet when tusks grow through the pig’s face and jawbone.


“Tales of the South Pacific” was the first short story collection to win a Pulitzer and the trigger to change the award category name to Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Pulitzer Prize for the Novel was awarded from 1918 to 1947. “A Boar’s Tooth” describes an indigenous ritual that was practiced in the Solomon Islands centered around the pig, an animal with cultural importance throughout the Pacific Islands.


The book of short stories is 357. The story "A Boar's Tooth" is 14 pages. Spoken book not found.


Privacy. Inclusion does not require universal access to private aspects of people’s lives.


Commercially-minded ailor and his uninvited guests were welcomed to observe an important cultural ceremony, given valuable ivory tusks and meat and asked to leave before the most private part of the ceremony.


Hard to eat pork after reading this story. Stick with pineapples.


“If you eat your own pig, you are a glutton and a miser. If you give your pig to somebody else to eat, you are a great man.”


Instead of invading a private cultural ceremony, read about it. Attend cultural festivals and celebrations that welcome visitors and support those cultures. Carefully investigate tours owned and operated by indigenous people; some do create cultural understanding and benefit the people whose culture the traveler experiences.


What are the negative outcomes of tourism that involves contact with indigenous peoples? What should be done about that?
What do other religions or views of spirituality have in common with the beliefs and practices of Michener’s Vanicoro natives?
What items in American life require the exploitation of people or animals?
What can families and establishments that sell food do better to respect vegans and vegetarians? How can vegans and vegetarians communicate in a way that is respectful of people who make different food choices?
How did you relate to the varied responses of the Seebee, lieutenant, doctor, chaplain, Maries, during the sacrifice of the boars?


Remote Malakula Island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific is said to conjure the fictional island of Vanicoro from “Tales of the South Pacific.” Cannibalism happened on Malakula as recently as the 1960s.


The first of 1,925 "South Pacific" Broadway performances was in 1949.
"South Pacific" the movie musical was released in 1958.


Michener wrote many massive, well-researched novels, including “Hawaii” (1959

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