Conflict in The Interior Castle by Jean Stafford
The Interior Castle by Jean Stafford is a very disturbing but thought-provoking story of a woman who creates a separate world within her head after being severely injured in a car accident. The conflict of the story is Pansy’s attempted escape from pain. Throughout the story she develops an incredibly intricate world within her own mind. She attempts to run from the pain she feels by retreating into this world in which she has made for herself.
After arriving at the hospital with severe facial and cranial injuries due to a car accident, Pansy Vanneman began to lock herself away within her head in silent, unspoken hopes of escaping the terrible pain that surged throughout her body. She spoke mainly to herself within her head and very rarely graced the nurses or attendants with any words at all. She began to wrap her entire existence around what she thought was her one true reason for living: her brain. She did not necessarily worship her mind, but it was the organ itself that intrigued her. In the accident, her brain had been unscathed and she now believed it was some magnificent being that was above anything or anyone that came in contact with her.
Throughout the story, Pansy tries to escape any form of pain she feels by retreating deep into her mind, her “jewel”, as she called it. Even gazing out of the window from her hospital room causes her some form of pain. She sees nothing but death and sadness in the world as she gazes upon the cold, lifelessness of winter. Everything appears cold and dead to her. Her escape is always into her “sacred brain”, as she thought it should be called.
It seemed from time to time, her brain would let her down in one way or another. The brain itself being pink even gave her troubles at times. The color pink took her back to a time when she was hopelessly, but secretly, in love with a gentleman by the name of Mr. Oliver. Into the fall garden she strolled, wearing a very out-of-place pink hat. Her love ignored her and took another love interest right before her eyes. The color pink, although seemingly beautiful and powerful to her brain, was sometimes very hurtful to Pansy. It was times like these that her brain failed her and she could not escape from her emotional pain.
During Pansy’s accident, she had sustained severe facial injuries, mainly to the structure of her nose. Once again to escape the pain, Pansy would draw back into her own perfect mind so as not to deal with the horrific pain that...