Melanctha and Misunderstanding

“He never really knew what it was that Melanctha really wanted.  In all these ways he just, by his nature, did, what he sort of felt Melanchtha wanted.  And so they continued to be alone and much together, and now it had come to be the spring time, and now when they had all out-doors to wander.” (Stein 83).

“Jane was beginning to make Jeff Campbell see much clearer.  Jane Harden did not know what it was that she was really doing with all this talking.  Jane was always honest when she was talking.  Jane did not know what Jeff was feeling.  Jane was always honest when she was talking, and now it just happened she had started talking about her old times with Melanctha Hebert.  Jeff understood very well that it was true what Jane was saying.  Jeff Campbell was beginning to see very clearly.” (Stein 84)

The two passages  emphasize misunderstanding and the constant desire for characters to understand each other.  The first passage Campbell is unable to know what Melanctha wants, and Jane does not know what Campbell wants.  Both passages the focalizer switches, especially in the second there is an abrupt switch from Jane’s point of view to Jeff’s point of view.  This abrupt switch does not allow readers to focus on Jane’s nature because Campbell’s reaction to the news is what takes up the rest of the space in the paragraph.

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