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Stereotypes in Gertrude Stein's Three Lives - Essay Example

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Jasmine Olmo Professor White English 396-01 May 2011 Prose Final Paper: Stereotypes in Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives Stereotypes and prejudices are very often used in literature as a means to themselves. However in Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives we see how she uses this racism and norms as a way to make another claim…
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Stereotypes in Gertrude Steins Three Lives
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Download file to see previous pages Hejinian’s says that Stein’s “dependency on names (nouns) tends to obscure experience by replacing what we experience with a reestablished concept.” This concept has been seen through Stein’s repetition throughout the novel. It is through the repetition of these norms, prejudices, and racism that Stein brings forth the absurdity of what the lower class and women are expected to be. The columniation of all these women in death shows that they all lead a life of suffering and pain despite being good, and that maybe norms should be reconsidered. In Melanctha we see how Dr. Campbell continues to have the same conversation with Melanctha over and over and through his repetition we see a dependency on adjectives and how they are subjective. Dr. Campbell continually uses the term “excited” to show how he expects colored people to act. He doesn’t feel that colored people should be acting all excited. His expectation of how colored people and the lower class should behave is seen when he says, “I certainly do like everything to be good and quiet, and I certainly do think that it is the best way for us colored people.” This stereotype can be generalized to how all the lower class and middle class should act. ...
For example, Dr, Campbell originally thinks that Melanctha is not good but thinks that Rose is good even though she is an alcoholic. He relates being good with not being excited but Rose gets excited from drinking. Therefore, he doesn’t really understand these norms that he is trying to follow, and the repetition of this word “excited” that he is not really sure about coincides with the fact that the reader should question norms because they don’t make sense and people often contradict themselves just as Dr. Campbell does. Other than the use of repetition, another way that the novel challenges stereotypes is by representing them in a realist perspective. It’s not trying to paint an idealistic picture of how life is at the time. Rather it is painting a very real picture of everyday life for three women. This picture is of their mundane everyday life. A major stereotype during the times of this novel (and even now) is that women should be responsible for taking care of the home and stay in shape. In the story of The Good Anna we see this stereotype is represented and talked about in a very realist way. The stereotype is strengthened by the good Anna believing that this is how it must be done, “A girl was a girl and should act always like a girl, both as to give all respect and as to what she had to eat.” There is a repetition throughout this story of the “right way for a girl to do.” Here the author plays on our preconceived idea about what is right for a girl and makes us question this stereotype not by idealizing it or playing it down, but by showing it to us in the light of what is really is. One can see that Stein, in her novellas, reproduces the typical feminine roles which are assigned to them by the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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