The Stone Diaries Questions and Answers
by Carol Shields

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In The Stone Diaries, what does Daisy use to escape her isolation with Barker Flett in the years around his retirement?

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The section of this brilliant novel that you will want to refer to is Chapter Six, entitled "Work." Interestingly, this section of the novel is presented to us in the form of a collection of letters that present us with an overall sense of the years alluded to in the title. What is interesting is the way that so much of what happens during these chapters is just refered to indirectly, leaving us, as readers, to piece together what evidence we are presented with in the novel.

It is clear however, that Daisy in this section becomes a successful writer thanks to her job at the Recorder. This definitely helps her counter the loneliness that she experiences as a result of her husband's retirement and increased isolation. However, these letters also clearly show that Daisy Flett stopped writing when she loses her job, showing the way in which work is so inextricably intertwined with professional identity. To lose a job is tantamount to losing your identity.

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