“..did everything that any woman could”

“Melanctha Herbert who was Rose Johnson’s friend, did everything that any woman could. She tended Rose, and was patient, submissive, soothing, and untiring, while the sullen, childish, cowardly, black Rosie grumbled and fussed and howled and made herself to be an abomination and like a simple beast.” 85

“Melanctha took good care of her mother. She did everything that any woman could, she tended and soothed and helped her pale yellow mother, and she worked hard in every way to take care of her, and make her dying easy. But Melanctha did not in these days like her mother any better, and her mother never cared much for this daughter who was always a hard child to manage, and who had a tongue that always could be very nasty.” 110

Notes: The two passages are similar in many ways including their vocabulary and structure. Both passage included the phrase “did everything that any woman could.” The repetition of the phrase helps emphasize a point. In this case it emphasizes the kind of woman Melanctha is. The passages are also similar in that it uses similar adjectives to describe the way Melanctha served her friend and her mother. The first paragraph had the word “untiring” while the second had “worked hard.” These similar words allow a reader to truly understand the type of character Melanctha is and how she has not changed in that aspect of her personality over the years. Also, the structure of these two paragraphs are similar in that they both start off with how Melanctha treats others then ends with how those people react to her. In these two passages both women are not pleasant and in a way ungrateful. The similarities that can be drawn from the two passages reveal how the story is constructed in a way that helps emphasize a point as well as show how things have or have not changed.

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” In Three Lives. New York: Grafton, 1909. Internet Archive. http:/archive.org/details/threelivesstorie00steirich.

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