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Gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay

Library of Congress "Gertrude Stein 1874-1946 differed from most of her contemporaries by being female, Jewish, lesbian, and well-educated. Gertrude Stein's career and also her fame began with the publication of Three Lives 1909three seemingly inconspicuous and mundane biographical portraits of three women: A mysteriously suggestive hidden import under the surface adds to the bewilderment of readers and critics who are at a loss to find any conclusive link between the stories.

The ambivalent estimation that these stories "have a quite extraordinary vitality conveyed in a most eccentric and difficult form" showing that they "utterly lack construction and focus " 5 seemed to be a formula that designated not only the early critical reviews but lay the basis for the further treatment of the stories even by postmodern criticism. And so critics have tended to isolate "Melanctha" - "according to the general agreement the big thing in Three Lives " 6 - out of its original context.

As it appeared to be evident that "the three stories are perhaps more important for their differences between 'Melanctha' and the other two tales ," 7 one tried, on the one hand, to show its influence on the dealing of critics and writers such as Carl Van Vechten, Eugene O'Neill and Sherwood Anderson with "negro live ," 8 neglecting the fact that Melanctha is not just "a Negress" or the type of "a colored woman," nor really a representative of "black people ," 9 but - as we will see later - rather meant to be the symbolic type of the universally black and white, being "pale yellow and mysterious" 90.

On the other hand, the concentration on "Melanctha" served, linguistically, "to show how big a step Gertrude Stein takes into abstractionism " 10 and "experimental writing ," 11 psychologically, how consistent gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay step is "from a Jamesian notion of selective attention to a psychoanalytic one. It therefore seems necessary first to establish a reading of Three Lives as it might be suggested by the surficial mode of G.

Stein's presentation of the text. I "The good Anna," heroine of the first of the three fictional biographies, manages and dominates the entire household of "Miss Mathilda" in the small middle class town of Bridgepoint, obviously a metonymic everywhere and nowhere in America. But Anna also chides her gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay, who is "careless" 21 with her money and time, and also neglectful of her outward appearance - "large and lazy" 21: Miss Mathilda spends the household money that Anna saves on useless things - antique porcelain, etchings, or oil paintings which she collects - instead of finally buying herself a decent dress.

So Anna thinks she has "to watch and care for her and all her clothes and goods" 22. Miss Mathilda willingly submits to Anna's all-embracing care. The social hierarchy remains untouched, however, because of Miss Mathilda's money and education.

But Anna is never allowed to sense this, and we are told that not infrequently Miss Mathilda has had to save "her Anna" from the latter's friends when they took advantage of her kindness during her twenty years in Bridgepoint. The second part, entitled "The Life of Good Anna," tells the story of these friendships and stresses the relationship to Miss Mathilda as the high point in Anna's life. Anna Federner had settled in Bridgepoint after the death of her mother, with whom she had emigrated from southern Germany to America a short time earlier.

  • Lehntman adopts the "little baby boy" of one of the fallen girls without asking Anna, the latter is deeply hurt, probably because she fears losing her dominant position;
  • Conversely, he sees her as a femme fatale, who arouses in him fear of the mystical uncertainty of woman, the overwhelming power of emotion, and the archetypal fear of being drowned;
  • Hoffman 1986 , 26-27;
  • Hoffman 1986 , 171-83.

Raised according to "a firm old world sense of what was the right way for a girl to do" 24she works in gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay homes of single women and men, all of whom are in their own way disorganized and "careless or all helpless" 25and who are virtually unable to survive without the kind of orderly German solicitousness - the "caring" - that Anna provides. Her relationship to these people, her "caring for the careless," is as complex as the meaning of the word "care": The rivalry with the adolescent Jane provokes a domestic power struggle in which, after a number of years, Anna is only able to gain the upper hand by threatening to give notice.

Anna is then 27, and from then on she is absolute ruler in Miss Wadsmith's house for a further six years. This victory also establishes her in the social structure of the town and gains her respect for her skill in household politics. In private life Anna carries on a friendship with a widow several years older than herself, Mrs. Lehntman, who is not as helpless as Miss Wadsmith but just as careless. Lehntman had been a midwife, but now delivers primarily "young girls who were in trouble" and puts them up in her home for a short period.

The person who really does the caring, however, is the good Anna. But with regard to Mrs. Lehntman - "very attractive, very generous, and very amiable" 30 - Anna's caring obviously goes beyond the limits of work and charity: Lehntman was the romance in Anna's life" 30.

Such a relationship, of course, has nothing to do with domestic power; rather, it becomes a power struggle of feelings, in which Anna is at first inferior: Lehntman was the only one who had power over Anna. Lehntman can convince her to accept help from Dr.

Shonjen, who orders an operation when she is seriously ill. Lehntman is also able to persuade Anna to give up her stressful position with Miss Wadsmith and take over the household of the bachelor Dr. Shonjen, beginning "her new life taking care of Dr. Anna is happy there because the doctor and his "bachelor friends" always allow her to mother and fuss over them.

With her greater self-confidence Anna gradually becomes the stronger partner in the by now six-year-old relationship with Mrs. She interferes in Mrs. Lehntman's careless upbringing of her two children, whom Anna keeps in check with her infallible "scolding. Lehntman adopts the "little baby boy" of one of the fallen girls without asking Anna, the latter is deeply hurt, probably because she fears losing her dominant position. But Anna's wrath at "careless" Mrs. Lehntman soon gives way to a silent, reflective sadness.

Anna cannot end what is called "her only romance," "this idealised affection," "her affair [. Lehntman now exploits Anna's emotional dependency for her plans to organize a large-scale charity operation for girls. Lehntman rents a large house despite Anna's opposition, Anna knows she has lost: The power struggle of emotions has a victor: Lehntman had very surely won.

Anna's "need" is still feeling, missing and a longing for the other. Her friend's "need" is only using and calculating, exploiting Anna's caring. Lehntman very much and Mrs. Lehntman could always hold out longer.

She knew too, that Anna had a feeling heart. Not only is Anna's romance destroyed by a man, but her sphere of influence in the bachelor Dr.

  1. Haydon's taking care of Lena, who seems to be careless in her own way, determines the course of the story. The first thing she does there becomes a central theme of The Autobiography of Alice B.
  2. Hoffman 1986 , 171-83. Lena's principal characteristic, her carelessness, now expresses itself even in her physical appearance, meaning here total self-neglect in apathetic conformity to her situation.
  3. S a b i l i l l a h p u b l i c a t i o n s transhumanism the history of a dangerous idea all rights reserved 2015 by david livingstone no part of.
  4. Yes, taking care of Miss Mathilda were the happiest days of all the good Anna's strong hard working life. Written arts workshops written arts workshops have varying registration requirements as of spring 2017, the majority are now registered just like most other classes.

Shonjen's household is threatened by a woman whom he plans to marry. Sadly but resolutely, Anna quits the home now ruled by the usurper of her domestic power. Anna now takes up the position with Miss Mathilda, caring for another lackadaisical spinster: She can rule and scold while at the same time respecting and admiring her wealthy and highly educated mistress: Yes, taking care of Miss Mathilda were the happiest days of all the good Anna's strong hard working life. The term "romance" is superceded by "happy family.

The third part anticipates the ending in its title: Anna's last years are described as a suicidal withdrawal from life. Having been left in charge of Miss Mathilda's house and vaguely hoping for her return, Anna temporarily rents the newly vacated rooms to lodgers whom she can scold and order about in typical fashion.

  • After her marriage, however, Rose no longer allows Melanctha to live with her, for "Rose had strong the sense for proper conduct" 215;
  • Yet Lena is unaware of the antipathy around her and even of her own against the others;
  • Melanctha is the obvious next step, according to the logic of developmental psychology.

But the great void in her emotional life leads to physical symptoms of world-weariness and dejection. Once again Anna becomes ill and must have an operation. Someone, at least, is gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay her when she dies: Drehten, a friend with whom she had always shared Weltschmerz of both a general and particular kind and who was now herself suffering from a tumor. Anna's greeting to Miss Mathilda transforms the meanings of the verbal mask "care" explicitly into that which remains unexpressed and unfulfilled, yet still her ultimate longing: The separation remains mysteriously incomprehensible, especially as Mathilda's penchant for "wandering" is made clear at the very outset.

The fairytale domestic idyll, an ideally happy situation for them both, still cannot induce Miss Mathilda to settle down, and Anna is not the only one who finds it inexplicable. This course of events implies the major question: Who is this mysticized, blissfully husbandless, nameless, "large and lazy," "large and careless mistress" "Miss Mathilda" 21 f.

For now let us leave the question open, as does the text. II "Melanctha," the second story, is also constructed around a "caring for the careless" pattern of relationships. In a poor black district of the same town, Melanctha Herbert cares attentively for her pregnant friend Rose Johnson and then for the baby: Why did the subtle, intelligent, attractive Melanctha Herbert love and do for and demean herself in service to this coarse, decent, sullen, ordinary, black childish Rose [.

And this question has a preliminary hypothetical answer which does call for a biographical explanation. Sometimes the thought of how all her world was made, filled the complex, desiring Melanctha with despair. She wondered, often, how she could go on living when she was so blue.

  • Lehntman adopts the "little baby boy" of one of the fallen girls without asking Anna, the latter is deeply hurt, probably because she fears losing her dominant position;
  • Almeria spain almeria spain;
  • But Anna's wrath at "careless" Mrs.

So the dictionary definitions of "blue," in addition to the denotative color designation, include, specifically of a woman, " intelligent and even learned" cf. In reverting to her past this process now develops as an intelligent woman's attempt at self-realisation in the face of the repressive, puritanical conventions of her milieu. The story begins, then, with the last phase of this development: Melanctha's past is portrayed in light of her present relationship to Rose, who, raised by whites, has adapted herself to the black social milieu and follows with calculating conformity the conventional code of behavior she has learned, i.

Melanctha Herbert had not made her life all simple like Rose Johnson.

Gertrude steins masking convention and structure essay

Melanctha Herbert always loved too hard and much too often. Early on she breaks with her parents, resisting the brutal, jealous alcoholic father, who threatens to kill her because she spends far too much time hanging about the horses at a nearby stable.

At this point Melanctha has just turned 12 and arrived at puberty. The victory over her father means the awakening of Melanctha's self-confidence, the "Fall of Woman": She does not gain her much sought-after "knowledge" from men, however. It is the 23-year-old Jane Harden, an experienced woman, who, despite having been expelled from college, instructs the 16-year-old Melanctha: She loved Melanctha hard and made Melanctha feel it very deeply.

There was nothing good or bad in doing, feeling, thinking or in talking, that Jane spared her [. This psycho-trip extends her consciousness of love's dimensions, free from morality and the imposition of sexual role conventions.

Gertrude Stein Essay

After two years Melanctha has achieved autonomy, not founded on "decency" but on the conscious experience of emotional mechanisms. She has freed herself from her long subservience to Jane. Independent and self-reliant, Melanctha begins to wander again, seeking more knowledge from men.

After a number of experiments, she believes she has found what she seeks in the mulatto Jefferson Campbell, an intelligent young doctor.

While Melanctha is willing to commit herself fully to this relationship, her new admirer remains cautious, even when he helps Melanctha in caring for her invalid mother.

While sitting up nights with the patient, they engage in dialogues that present a kind of critical analysis of this man who, afraid of love and his own emotions, represses his basic need for love by mentally constructing an idealistic way of life based on parental love, compassion and self-discipline, "[.