Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How can women maintain a creative life in the context of the requirements of domesticity? May Sarton writes, “Women’s work is always toward wholeness.” Use this response as a starting point for a discussion of women and creativity.

Examine some of the distinctions that one can make between loneliness and solitude. What are the relationships between solitude and creativity?

Sarton wrote numerous journals in her career. What does the journal require of the writer? What are the possibilities of journal writing for all ages—young, middle-aged, and old?

Sarton was interested in working out the gestalt of her life, the integration or structure of all the separate aspects of her experience and values. How is her goal—of finding an integrative self—relevant to people’s lives today?

Consider the garden as a metaphor for the creative individual’s life. What does the garden require of the individual? How is gardening akin to the individual working to perfect the self throughout life?

In what ways is Sarton a mentor or guide for individuals facing their old age? What evidence does she provide in her journals, novels, and poems to support others in their aging process?