Blue Melanctha and Stein’s repetitive style

“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.” (p48)

“Melanctha wondered often how it was she did not kill herself when she was so blue. Often she thought this would be really the best way for her to do.” (p50)

Gertrude Stein, Melanctha, in Three Lives, Dover Thrift Editions, 1994

The story is told by a third-person omniscient narrator, so the reader gets suggestive descriptions of the characters’ personalities and thoughts. From the very beginning, Stein uses repetition as a significant feature of the language in Melanctha, whether it be in the narrative parts or in the dialogues. She establishes a detailed description of the characters and especially of Melanctha’s, using repetition, as if she was trying to build a specific image of each of the characters, in the reader’s conscience.

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