Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How does the theme of isolation function in Jean Stafford’s work?

In her fictional works that are set in the West, Stafford is said to write about the West as it is seen by women rather than by men. What are some examples of this distinctive viewpoint?

How does Stafford use humor in her fiction?

Many of Stafford’s works are about children or women who are victimized. Which of her characters seem totally helpless, and why?

In which of Stafford’s stories does a character’s understanding of a situation have good results?

In which of Stafford’s stories does a revelation have unfortunate results?

Do you see reflections in Stafford’s fiction of her own battles with domestic violence, alcoholism, and insecurity?