Descriptions and repetition

 

“Rose Johnson was a real black, tall, well built, sullen, stupid, childlike, good looking negress. She laughed when she was happy and grumbled and was sullen with everything that troubled.” (p. 84)

“James Herbert was a powerful, loose built, hard handed, black, angry negro. Herbert never was a joyous negro. (p. 91)

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These passages are very similar due to the fact that they are so simple. They describe the characters of Rose and James that are almost insultingly straight-forward.Stein’s style reflects this in her simple syntax and diction. She also uses a lot of repetition, and lines like this can be found on many pages throughout the work. This redundancy makes Stein’s work a little frustrating to read.It makes the reader question why Stein is choosing to repeat these facts over and over, yet leave out others, which perhaps may be more important. Also, both of these passages bring up the idea of happiness in relation to “blackness”. Rose is referred to as “childlike” because of her happiness and presence of emotion, yet Herbert is simply described as “angry”.

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