Sojourns of the Damned
This chapter demonstrates how scenes of severe human hardship illustrate and authenticate the San Francisco pesthouse experience. While legislation, politics, aversive emotions, and medical theories determined the location of an isolation facility, ostracized patients' lives shaped the institution's character and dismal reputation. The trauma of total isolation compounded the stigma of disfigurement from disease. Life as a pariah detained in a discredited and feared prison-like institution offered occasional and welcome fodder for the print media, always a catalyst for revealing and often molding emotional landscapes. Although a religious context remained hidden, all segregations seemed per se penitential, a just destiny for people who had become dangerous to others.
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