A Transition to Modernist Fiction: Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives

 

As we begin modernist fiction with Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives, we are leaving poetry behind for the moment, but The Waste Land will haunt us throughout the semester. I am really enjoying your recordings of Eliot, Stevens and Williams. Please keep listening to the authors we’re reading–and recording them yourself–as ways to deepen your appreciation and understanding of their works.

After you listen to my Mini Lecture 3 on Blackboard, please answer these questions for your blog response.1

1. How is repetition—of the same words and phrases in description and dialogue both, and of the same and similar actions and interactions with others—used to develop the characters of “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”? Cite and analyze examples for each character.

2. Did listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” provide any insight for you into her use of repetition in Three Lives? Why or why not?

3. Given the definition and conventions of realism and psychological realism I provided in my Mini Lecture 3 and the linked notes for it, in what ways does Three Lives seem to depart from realism? In what ways does it still seem like a work of realist fiction, and particularly of psychological realism? Be specific and cite evidence.

4. How would you compare the depiction and aspirations of immigrants in the Three Lives to The Jazz Singer? Be specific.

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66 Comments

  1. 1. Anna’s character in, “The Good Anna,” seems to be a helpful one. She is kind and generous with her employer Miss Mathilda, but she is also stern. When one of the girls she hires, Molly, won’t stop swearing she begs Miss Mathilda to scold her. Anna says, “I can’t do a thing with [Molly]. I scold hr, and she doesn’t seem to hear…She loves you Miss Mathilda, and you scold her please once” (Stein, 9). Anna loves to help people in need and animals who are also in need.
    Lena’s character in “The Gentle Lena,” seems to kind and patient one. Lena also seems to be very simple minded, seeing as how she sucked green paint off of her fingers. Lena then grows up and marries a man named Herman Kreder and becomes even more passive. Lena passes away when she tries to give birth to her fourth child and Kreder is left with “his three good, gentle children” (Stein, 174).

    2. Listening to her read the poem you hear the repetition more than reading “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena.” I think it has to do with her reading the poem out loud so you catch on quicker the repetition and musical background helps follow what she is saying. In both short stories, Stein does repeat sentences I think enforce the way how the audience is suppose perceive, but reading just once you hardly notice the restating of the sentence. However, in the poem, you can hear it better.

    3. “Three Lives” does have the elements of realism. “The Good Anna,” the head servant is control of the household, and in “The Gentle Lena,” Lena and Herman only marry at first to please the parental figures in their lives. One way I think it departs when it speaks about the “romance” of Anna and Mrs. Lehntman. It is written that, “Mrs. Lehntman needed Anna just as much as Anna needed Mrs. Lehntman…”(Stein, 35) and the way it is written suggests a “true” love between these characters that would seem taboo at the time. Each passage is told through the first-person point of view which makes it a psychological realism.

    4. I think in “The Gentle Lena” compares well in regards to the immigrants that are in “The Jazz Singer.” Jakie’s parents wanted him to follow tradition and do as he was told and Herman’s family was telling him what to do and marry whom they told him to marry. The difference being is that Jakie followed his heart and Herman caved into the pressure and married Lena. Also Jakie with his singing career was more outgoing compared to the shy and hardly spoken Herman.

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    1. I don’t think it departed with realism with implied lesbianism because I think that would be pretty common at the time, especially with lower class women that weren’t forced to marry. It might have been taboo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t exist, especially since Stein writes about it in Melantha. There was also implied homosexuality in Herman’s character that maybe you didn’t pick up on when Stein consistently repeats he doesn’t like to have women around him at all times and prefers the company of men. The departure from reality for me was the third-person, omniscient narrator pitying and sympathizing with both Lena and Anna when, in realism, omniscient narrators are supposed to be objective.

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  2. 1. Anna is described as good and that she “led an arduous and troubled life.” This is repeated in the beginning of the book to show that there is a theme for the protagonists that are women in the book. Lena is described as gentle and simple. It is repeated that, “the other girls, of course, did tease her, but then that only made a gentle stir within her.” This seems to show her submissiveness and passiveness. The brown was used to describe her over and over. It didn’t seem to be linked to race. I think maybe it meant she was plain, not that I think brown is plain.

    2. I had a really hard time listening to the recording. I found the music to be really distracting. I did take of notice of the repetition and how Stein really drives her point across with repetition.

    3. I think sometimes “The Good Anna” departed from realism in that she would leave her job as a servant when she disagreed with the lady of the house. It does seem like a work of realist fiction in that the narrator is third person, the characters are everyday non-heroic characters, and there are detailed descriptions of physical and cultural settings. Anna and Lena are very modest, plain, traditional, and German. I’m not entirely sure about an example for psychological realism, but I think when Lena is described as brown over and over again, there is a style of writing that mimics how we talk rather than write.

    4. The depictions of immigrants in both the Three Lives and The Jazz Singer are rigid and unadaptable. In The Jazz Singer the parents of Jakie are not accepting of his interest in “jazz” music. In “The Good Anna,” Anna is not able to adapt to other female character’s who do not agree with her.

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    1. I also had a hard time when listening to the recording. I had to listen to it a second time just to be able to understand and catch the music and repeating.

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    2. I agree that it was unrealistic for Anna to leave her job every time she disagreed with her employer. Anna did not exactly act like servant even though that is what she was, she seemed to act like she was the head of house. I also agree that, on the other hand, it was realist fiction because of the 3rd person, non-heroic characters.

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    3. I agree. It was very difficult to listen to the recording this time. The music was loud and it was hard to hear the repetition but once I could it sounded almost like a song.

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    4. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only person having a hard time trying to understand the recording! The back ground music threw me off, and I honestly couldn’t figure out what was going on or where she was. I also agree that The Jazz Singer and “The Good Anna” are both having to deal with not being accepted in their own way.

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    5. i agree that it was hard to understand the recording. Anna would leave her job when she disagrees with an employer and she would make up excuses to her Mistress that she had to let them go because they were not qualified for the position to work under her. I also agree that both Jazz Singer and Anna were not able to adapt. Good job on your response had a good time reading this.

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    6. Despite the huge repetition of the recording, it did open up my eyes on how repeating words and phrases drill in something to your head. “The Good Anna” would be a different story if Anna had a harder time finding a new job, but I suppose there are a couple of fast forwards when it comes to time.

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    7. I think the effect of the background music added more of an emphasis on the repetition that occurred in the story so much that without it, the effect would not be the same. Yes, it did seem a bit distracting at times however I appreciate the added effect it gave to the story telling as a whole.

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      1. I thought the use of repetition was a unique and effective way to grab the reader’s attention. It almost seemed like it signaled a point in the story where rising action was talking place. It’s as if the music went along with the repetition to mark an important part in the text.

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  3. 1. How is repetition—of the same words and phrases in description and dialogue both, and of the same and similar actions and interactions with others—used to develop the characters of “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”? Cite and analyze examples for each character.

    Repetition is used in “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” to reinforce character traits told within the story. Both stories are told from an omniscient narrator and follow the character’s life until their death. It could be that the reason they are called “good” and “gentle” throughout the story is not only so they can reinforce what type of person they are, but could also read the story like a eulogy as well. Ultimately, this repetition reached its peak when it’s reinforced that Mrs. Lehntment was “the romance of Anna’s life”, and how much Anna put her love, whether it be for working for her or actual love itself, into her duties. There are plenty of moments where Anna and Lena’s actions repeat later in their lives, and even act as foreshadowing. For Anna, this is used by how she treats her pets, then treats both Miss Mathilda and Mrs. Lehntman and the other servants whom are unreliable. When Anna scolds Mrs. Lehntman on adopting another child despite how her children are, Anna then later on gets rid of her parrot for having too many pets “whom she didn’t like”. In Lena’s case, her gentle attitude stems first whenever she becomes timid due to her gullible behavior of believing the green paint to be poisonous. This timidness, which could be seen as her being passive, would later be seen when she is married and gives birth to three children, dying with the fourth.

    2. Did listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” provide any insight for you into her use of repetition in Three Lives? Why or why not?

    Listening to “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” honestly gave me more of a headache more than anything. At a certain point, I was just listening to the music as opposed to listening to the words themselves. Admittedly, it was repetitive, but I don’t think that level of repetition was used in “The Good Anna” or “The Gentle Lena” to that extent. It did make me realize how she used repetition though, since giving it a second listen, you know they are trying to drill in something into your head.

    3. Given the definition and conventions of realism and psychological realism I provided in my Mini Lecture 3 and the linked notes for it, in what ways does Three Lives seem to depart from realism? In what ways does it still seem like a work of realist fiction, and particularly of psychological realism? Be specific and cite evidence.

    Three Lives departs from the typical form of realism quite literally whenever Anna decided to leave her first job. It’s honestly quite hard to imagine her just walking off, finding something else in a quick matter, and being happy with it, at least in this time. It is definitely a work of realist fiction in the sense that they are normal people, since there wasn’t exactly much idealist ideas with both Anna and Lena. However, I would say that there were certainly romantic themes in “The Good Anna”, since there were plenty of romantic links between Anna and those she served, reinforced by the repetition Stein wrote as “Mrs. Lehntman was the romance in Anna’s life,” and “Mrs. Lehntman was the only romance Anna ever knew.” At the time, if it was actual genuine love, this could be seen as taboo due to perhaps how homosexuality was looked at back then.

    4. How would you compare the depiction and aspirations of immigrants in the Three Lives to The Jazz Singer? Be specific.

    This is strongly linked more with “The Gentle Lena” than “The Good Anna”. I think for the most part, the truest comparison you could make is how they treated their parents. While Jakie wanted to become a jazz singer in spite of his father’s wishes, Lena married someone in order to please her parents. Additionally, you can also link the fact that Jakie’s father absolutely did not like jazz music at all, while Anna did not have a good opinion with the lazy servants she had to work and scold on the ocassion. Interestingly, I didn’t feel there was much pride of Anna and Lena being German as opposed to Jakie, who’s jewish heritage was a large factor in the climax of the film. At best, the descriptors before where the German folk are hard working is the best you can get.

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    1. I agree that the “Jazz Singer” is better compared to “The Gentle Lena” because of how they are treated by their respective parents. I like how you pointed out the differences and I agree that Anna and Lena didn’t have much pride to being German, while Jackie’s heritage was very important in his family. Anna and Lena’s heritage is more of a characteristic like having brown hair then really being who they are in their soul, so to speak.

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    2. I really do agree that listening to the audio was very difficult. The music was distracting! I had to listen a second time (regardless, of how difficult it was) in order to focus on the tone and rhythm of Stein was trying to produce. However, I really did enjoy hearing the emphasis on certain parts of the reading that I wouldn’t have caught any other way.

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    3. I agree that the repetition is where people are trying to make sure you get what they are trying to get across. It was really hard to listen to the recording, and it sort of made me frustrated when I was trying to keep up, and I had no clue where she was reading. Yet the repetition in the other readings were more mellow, and made more sense which was nice.

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    4. I agree, Jackie was able to break his tradition to follow his dream to become a Jazz Singer and Lena didn’t break her tradition she married someone to please her parents and she was not happy.I know that tradition is very important to ones culture,but you have to break tradition in order to pursuit your dreams and become happy. “The Gentle Lena,” Herman and Lena didn’t have a voice in opposing the marriage and had to follow their German tradition.

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    5. I also saw a strong connection between The Jazz Singer and The Gentle Lena. Both Jackie and Lena had to deal with the opinions of their parents. I like that you made a connection between Jakie’s father’s hatred of Jazz and Anna’s distain for the people she worked with. I had not thought of that.

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    6. I’ll have to respectfully disagree with your response to Stein’s reading of her own work. She is employing a method of psychological reiteration that affects subliminal thinking. I certainly agree, it was a headache to get through, but there is a more sophisticated implementation at play that ascends past the mere reading, cadence and background music employed in the production.

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  4. The use of repetition in both “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” gave insight to their lower status and intellect because they would repeat things in the exact same order and notice physical appearances or attitudes multiple times: “Anna was a medium sized, thin, hard working, worrying woman” and “Herman did not like to always have a girl around him” (“The Good Anna”, 20 and “The Gentle Lena,” 164). Both phrases are used multiple times throughout each story. Neither woman was well-educated, which meant they didn’t know how to convey messages succinctly or use many adjectives in either speaking or describing others.
    Listening to Stein read out loud did not help me this time because I was very aware of the repeating sentence, so much so that I constantly thought I was reading the same part over again without realizing it. The music was too distracting as well so I couldn’t really hear what Stein was saying. Before thinking about the use of repletion to expand character’s traits, I was very annoying with it, thinking Stein wasn’t a very good writer because we don’t see this type of repletion in post-modern writing. However, the repletion is well-placed and expands both the reader’s understanding of Anna and Lena and the world in which they live.
    The departure from realism to me was when Anna’s naivety in her older years by still giving money to poor people and expecting them to pay back as well as not having an objective third-person narrator. The narrator was clearly sympathizing with both Lena and Anna, and the book’s footnotes had revealed Stein put herself in some of the characters, for example Miss Mathilda; however, every other trait of realism is spot on. The dialect reflects the education and background in which the women come from, the characters are lower-middle class without any heroic aspects, and Stein describes characters’ physical appearance and settings multiple times and with detail.
    The Jazz Singer and the two Three Lives stories we read have very similar portrayals, especially in “The Gentle Lena.” “The Gentle Lena is the story Jazz Singer would have told if Jack listened to his parents, since both his parents and Lena’s guardians are trying to plan their lives to the minute detail. Anna is stronger than Jack because she can tell loved ones what she thinks without minces her words or feeling bad about it as seen with Mrs. Lehntman, but Jack has hesitations because he doesn’t want to hurt his parents. All in all, all three are probably accurate portrayals of immigrant lives.

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    1. I completely agree that the music was a bit distracting when listening to that poem, but it helped me follow the flow and it easier to pick up on the repetition of the poem. I also think that “The Gentle Lena” had a lot in common with “The Jazz Singer.” Especially because both parental figures in both stories just wanted what they thought was best for their child.

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    2. I agree with your reading of the repetition throughout the stories. It seemed that it reinforced their status in their society. I also felt like it enforced stereotypes of women during that time. In some ways I felt that it became redundant and was almost an exaggeration of how those women were supposed to act.

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    3. I think the repetition was implemented by the author so the reader could easily identify the important details of the characters and other plot elements. Perhaps if repetition weren’t involved, it would be easier to forget parts of the story.

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  5. 1. The title basically gives away who the main character is; in “The Good Anna” it is Anna. Anna is a middle aged German woman who is a servant in a large household. The repetition of phrases helps the reader understand that Anna is a hard working woman, who loves to serve and please other. For example, “And I slave and slave to save the money and you go out and spend it all on foolishness.” (Stein, 13-14). This phrase shows that Anna is constantly working, and no matter the circumstance she will always work hard even if it is for nothing because that is just the type of woman she is. Although she cares for others, she does it in a different way, she nags or scolds the people she cares for to try to help them the best she can. “The Doctor really loved her scolding’s…” (Stein, 24). When Anna was working for Dr. Shonjen, she would always be on his case about many different things yet the doctor seemed to enjoy it because he knew she did it because she cared about him. Lena’s character is also developed through key phrases. Lena too is a German Immigrant just like Anna; Lena is a nanny and seems to be quite good at her profession. The Narrator describes Lena’s life as a “Pleasant leisure” (Stein, 172). Lena seems to be a kind, gentle person who is also good at soothing and understanding other. She can be seen throughout the story helping other relax with her gentleness, “and how her voice had been so gentle and sweet-sounding, and how she always was a good girl…” (Stein, 174). This is how she was being remembered by the good cook after Lena passed away, it show exactly how Lena was and the calmness she brought to others.
    2. Listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” did not give me much insight on why she chooses to use repetition on “The Three Lives”. Now I understand that repetition is important to understanding something or mastering a skill, yet I believe it was not necessary in her poem. To be quite honest, I was a bit confused upon listening to the poem because of the music background, it did not let me focus on her reading since the rhythmic sound was louder than her voice. Also an accomplished writer like Stein should not need for so much repetition in a poem, in my opinion it makes it seem as if the poem is written by someone with no knowledge on the subject. The poem in a way sounds like a representation of a college student when we get stuck on an essay and start to repeat ideas in a different way to meet the length requirement.
    3. One way that the story seems to depart from “realism” is that in a reality and normal circumstances most people do not a specific person just to please their parents, however people tend to rebel against what traditional parents choose. However it does have aspects that fit into the realism novels, an example is how the main characters seem to be ordinary people just like you and I. Also they are not a rich bunch but middle class which give the story a more believable plot. In “The Gentle Lina” the reader is able to see certain aspects that reflect psychological realism such as giving inside thought of what some characters though about a situation. For example when Mrs. Haydon says she sensed, “rarer strain there was in Lena…” (Stein, 176) it is revealing the inside thought process of a character.
    4. I believe that “Three lives” and “The Jazz singer can be compared to their common themes of aspiring immigrants. Jackie followed his heart to be a jazz singer but had to work hard for what he wanted. He sees the same in “The Good Anna” she is a German immigrant is aspiring to “make it” and she is willing to work hard for what she wants as well. I believe the stories have a similar understanding that hard work is behind any success we may see, also that immigrants tend to have a good work ethic.

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    1. I agree with the theme of aspiring immigrants. Both of these characters come from families who have immigrated to America. Both characters have learned to adapt to the new environment. Both characters did work hard to achieve what they wanted in order to succeed. I also thought it was interesting how both have lost a parent, Jack’s father passes away and Anna’s mother passes away.

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    2. I agree with your observation that the through processes of the characters become visible. The way Gertrude Stein introduces traits about the characters solidifies them within our mind and she uses very stark imagery and phrasing to do so. I also somewhat agree with you that there are some visible aspects of realism, however there are many prevalent elements of psychological realism prevalent that may bolster your argument if you were to include two or three more of them.

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  6. 1. Anne is described as good, her character in the book is kind to generous with her employer. This was repeated in the beginning of the book to show the characters of the women in the book. Lena is described as gentle and simple, she is also simple minded. It is repeated in the book that “the other girls, of course, did tease her, but then that only made a gentle stir within her.” This seems to show her obedient and passiveness.
    2. Listening to the recording I had a hard time focusing. I had to listen to it a second time. The music helped me catch the repeating and what she says.
    3. With the definition and convention of realism and psychological realism “Three Lives seem to depart was when the good Anna would leave her job as a servant when she disagreed with the lady of the house.
    4. The Jazz Singer and the Three Lives stories that I read were very similar when portrayed Lena and Anna. For the Gentle Lena story it is similar to when Jack in the Jazz singer would have done what his parents said.

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    1. A lot of people see the similarities between “The Gentle Lena” and “The Jazz Singer,” so it is nice to see someone else see it as well. And I agree that background music helps someone catch the repetitiveness when listening to the poem. It almost makes it sound like a song which is easier to pick up on.

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    2. Listening to the recording was really difficult for me and forced me to really pay attention. It did however bring more emphasis to the repetition which I assume was the point. I was able to focus mostly on those areas of the poem. I think the repetition is very important because it emphasizes important aspects Stein found important–which is seen in Three Lives as well.

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      1. I think the records were strenuous to listen to because the music, and Stein, repeat themselves. It is a sort of “familiarity breeds contempt” situation, where you get the idea after just a paragraph. Repetition, I think, is not something people in general enjoy. We do not enjoy to tasks over and over again, and even music we enjoy can start to get on our nerves after a while if we have listened to it too much.

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  7. The use of repetition in “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” helps to demonstrate who these women are. In “The Good Anna” it is emphasized that she is good despite her rough life so that statement “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” is repeated a lot. While in “The Gentle Lena” it is repeated that Lena is simple minded and gentle at heart.

    Listening to Stein read did provide insight on her writing because by hearing her read her poem we are able to hear the emphasis she is trying to make when repeating certain words. It lets the reader get a feel for what she wants the reader to understand about her writing. Also I found it hard to read the poem because of all the repetition but when I listened to it I got a sense of the flow and rhythm.

    It departs from realism in certain areas, for example, when Anna keeps giving money to people who never pay her back that would probably only happen to someone extremely naive and Anna did not come off as a naive person to me. Another example is Lena and Herman’s marriage, it departs for realism because in real life if two people did not want to marry they would not get married. However, it could still be seen as realism because of the fact that it follows Anna and Lena through their lives and everyday struggles. Nothing extremely crazy or interesting happens that keeps you on the edge of your seat but its intrigues the reader for the fact that it portrays the different types of lives immigrants lived.

    The “Jazz Singer” and “Three Lives” can be compared because of how both of them deal with immigrants trying to embrace Americanism, so to speak. In the “Jazz Singer” he is trying to forget his culture and join the American culture; he is eventually able to blend both of them. In “Three Lives” both women are immigrants and both are trying to just get by in life. Anna is a strong women who wants to help these weak women and take care of them. Lena on the other hand is being forced to become a part of American tradition as well as her husband Herman. All of these characters are in some way trying to blend into American culture.

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    1. I agree complete on the comparison between Jazz Singer and Three Lives. I think that in Three Lives, the stories are more of wanting to merge into american culture and blend in as much as possible. I think this leads to unhappiness. In Jazz Singer, I truly do enjoy that he found a happy medium. It was more of an adjusting both cultures rather than trying to fit in to a single one without getting noticed. Good Points!

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    2. I didn’t consider the blending of American culture when reading the stories. That’s a pretty good way to look into the comparison between Jazz Singer and “Three Lives”.

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  8. Anna in “The Good Anna,” is a sweet, kind, and honestly good. However she has, “led an arduous and troubled life (Stein 7).” Anna manages Miss Mathilda’s house and all the servants that work there. It is stated on page 8 that, “The good anna had high ideals for canine chastity and discipline. Anna’s character is characterized by her kind heart to help others and care for the dogs. Lena in “The Gentle Lena,” is described as “patient, gentle, and sweet (Stein 149).” Lena’s character is described as soft and peaceful. She has had a quite simple life but it doesn’t bother her, in fact, she enjoys it. This is shown on page 150, “It was all a peaceful life for Lena, almost as peaceful as a pleasant leisure. The other girls, of course, did tease her, but then that only made a gentle stir within her.” Listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” did help me gather insight on why she used repetition in her short stories. Listening to her read out loud did catch my attention on the repeated words/lines however reading the story itself also caught my eye on this literary element. I’m sure this is different for everyone but I enjoy repetition in literary works because it shows an emphasis on what the author is trying to convey to the readers.

    “Three Lives” departs from realism by showing the character Anna from “The Good Anna” leaving her first job. This shows a movement away from realism because she was a lower middle class women and poorer like she would have stayed where they were even if they didn’t like it. This is a work of realist fiction because Anna and Lena are your average women. They do not have any special or unique story lines. They are just your average plain, traditional and well-mannered women. As far as psychological realism, Stein does incorporate this literary genre by showing the internal thoughts of the secondary characters. Three Lives and The Jazz Singer are linked between Lena and Jakie because unlike him, Lena wanted to obey her parents. She married someone who her parents wanted her to and Jakie disregarded his parents’ wishes and became a jazz singer. As far as immigration goes, Three lives doesn’t seem to show any struggles between the two German women; besides the fact they are lower middle class women.

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    1. I like your comment on how repetition in poetry is a clear emphasis on the author’s intended meaning. I think that it really clarifies things. I would also agree that Stein’s characters and Jack Robin were different in that Lena and Anna wanted to please their families, whereas Jack wanted to make his own way. I think that adds to a gendered reading of modernist works as well.

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  9. Gertrude Stein masterfully uses repetition in her character-building two ways: the first in which she utilizes simple, repetitive phrases to internalize – subconsciously in the reader – certain truisms or foundational mantras; the second way is a consistency in with which she interacts with characters that allows us to know how she will be in the future. For example, in The Good Anna, Gertrude Stein incorporates the phrase “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” (pg. 1), having not, at the time, provided any sort of evidence to support the statement. She then continues describing dog discipline, then makes mention that only one of the dogs preserved its dignity in aging, and Gertrude provides “You see that Anna led an arduous and troubled life” (pg. 3). These examples present simple scenarios as dramatic events thus eluding to the fact that their lives are incredibly modest. In Gentle Lena, the author utilizes repetition in the form of placing the character’s names at the beginning of nearly every entry. I believe this is a literary device she used in order to compartmentalize each character and illustrate them in a framed, austere way. This is done to strengthen cold German sobriety and reverence for hard work: everyone has their job and a duty to perform. Gertrude Stein seems to make it her purpose to somewhat materialize the image of the German hardworking girl. Listening to her reading “The Portrait of Picasso” certainly was interesting in a sense that it introduced a musical cadence that, even when not present (the music), can still be felt in her structuring and delivery. This made the reading of Anna and Lena more wholesome events by pacing myself at a more deliberate and continual stride during reading.

    One of the ways Three Lives departs from conventional realism is that Gertrude Stein elaborates – through action – upon the many possible meanings behind the inflections with which the characters use. She acknowledges the lack of vocabulary and thus entrusts her sensibilities to interpret the different inflections and statements behind their vernacular. This departure from conventional realism deals more with mental paradigms and the reality that materializes in relation to it. “And she was always troubled with a cough, and she had a bad temper, and always said ugly dreadful swear words” (pg. 7). This descriptive analysis provided indicates a judgmental and uncultured disposition (very typical of individuals in destitute, uneducated backgrounds). Stein presents difficulties that are not tangible but instead lie within a conflicted individual struggling with custom and heritage and progress. This mental war that ensues allows this style to depart from typical realist conventions and transform into psychological realism, which at any rate is subjective. Readers find themselves then within the character’s, and their own, minds. This convention allows us to perceive a reality from multiple positions which causes the dilemma with realism, and signifies its departure because the mind creates physical reality and anything before is mere speculation (i.e. non-reality).

    The immigrant characters in both The Jazz Singer and Three Lives share some commonalities, but for the most part differ in ways based in necessity and paradigm. In The Good Anna, the narrator describes Anna’s actions as they align within the framework of expected German customs. That is to say, all of her actions are based in the strict and structured German upbringing she was afforded. The descriptive terms employed by Stein in Anna are utilized to round-out the character ideology within her character. Phrasings like “After a year of this unwholesome life” (pg. 29), and “Anna was content with what she had and grateful for all her doctor did for her” (pg. 57) reiterate the recurring themes of gratitude and complacency in regards to German culture. The German immigrant was obedient and hard-working. In Jazz Singer, the protagonist Jack must initially shun and disguise his Jewish heritage, parading in blackface to appease his heart’s will to become a world-class jazz singer. The Jewish immigrant was seen as unable to perform with such gusto and talent, causing him to rediscover himself. The resultant climax, though, has Jack return to his synagogue to fill in for his father – who lay dying in bed. Both stories employ different strategies but both result in the protagonist solidified in their native culture.

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    1. I agree with most of what you wrote. However, I thought the similarities between The Jazz Singer and Three Lived laid within the parental figures’ need for complete control over their children/guard’s lives. With The Gentle Lena, Lena must adhere to all of her guardian’s wishes else she be outcast or berated and ends up dying because of it. In The Jazz Singer, Jack is literally kicked out of his house after being beaten by the age of twelve because he doesn’t listen to his father’s wishes. This could have to do with a strict adherence to their culture or personal traits, but I think the parental figures in both are more alike than their cultures’ forcing them into obedience and gratitude.

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    2. I agree with your response about how immigrants were portrayed in the Jazz Singer and Three Lives. In both stories, the protagonist had to go against their traditional morals and values to pursue something that was out of the norm for their families. They shared the theme of having to prosper in a completely different environment.

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  10. 1. The use of repetition in “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” helps to show the true character of these two women. In “The Good Anna,” Stein used the following phrase: “And I slave and slave to save the money and you go out and spend it all on foolishness.” (Stein, 13-14). This sentence alone has tons of repetition within. The repetition of the word “slave” and the similar word “save” gives the reader a little more insight as to how Anna goes by her day—working. In “ The Gentle Lena,” the reader is introduced to the life of a German Immigrant girl who leads a very peaceful life. Lena in “The Gentle Lena,” is described as “patient, gentle, and sweet (Stein 149).” This shows that her character is very serene and peaceful. The author goes to state that “it was all a peaceful life for Lena, almost as peaceful as a pleasant leisure. The other girls, of course, did tease her, but then that only made a gentle stir within her.” A peaceful life is sometimes appreciated, as it is in Lena’s case. She enjoys the simplicity and doesn’t seem to mind how her days seem to merge into one another.

    2. Listening to Stein allowed us to hear the emphasis she intended to place on certain words. We get the sense of what she was thinking when she was writing and the tone that she intended her lines to be read in. To be honest, the music threw me off a little but after listening to it a second time, I found the music to be helpful with the rhythm of the piece.

    3. I believe one of the most noticeable factors that departed from realism is Anna’s naivety during her adulthood. Anna would give money to people and just expect them to pay her back. In reality, when we lend people money, we expect our money in return and once it doesn’t happen, it makes us more aware of the fact that not everyone is to be trusted. However, Anna doesn’t seem to think that way and continues to help people although she is getting nothing in return. The narrator seems to be on Anna’s side and explains the story in a way that makes Anna’s actions appear logical, yet we know better.

    4. The most noticeable comparison is in the way in which they treated their parents. Both were immigrants trying to embrace the American lifestyle, yet had their traditional customs to fulfill. In “The Jazz Singer” we see that he is trying to forget his traditional customs but eventually finds a way to find a happy medium. I feel like in “Three Lives” we see the lives of two immigrant women who don’t seem to be taking life by the horns and are simply doing everything because they have to while in “Jazz Singer” the protagonist finds a way to succeed whether or not his family appreciated what he was doing with his new Americanized lifestyle.

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  11. A phrase that was often repeated in The Good Anne is “Anne led an arduous and troubled life”. According to the notes in the book that is repeated to “signify the lives of the female protagonists for all three stories” (8) so this repletion is used to unify the three stories. The narrator also repeatedly calls her “the good Anne” throughout the story which is to reinforce Anne’s good nature even though she may do things such as fight with her employers. In The Gentle Lena, I noticed more repetition of certain words than phrases like in The Great Anne. The narrator recalls a situation with one of the children Lena cares for stating “the little girl fell down sometimes and cried, and then Lean had to soothe her. When the little girl would drop her hat, Lean had to pick it up and hold it. When the little girl was bad and threw her playthings, Lean told her she could not have them and took them from her to hold until the little girl should need them” (150). The frequent repetition of “the little girl” and “Lean” gives Lean’s life a feeling of being the same every day. She is always having to do things for this little girl but because she was originally described as “patient, gentle, sweet” she has a willingness to do so (149). The narrator is trying to give the reader a sense of her patience. Listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” was very different from any of the other recordings we have listened to. The inclusion of music makes me wonder if the stories in Three Lives were also meant to be read with music. The reading was almost song like which would make sense given the repetition she seems to use in most of her work.
    The Good Anne departs from realism in that she left her job every time she had an argument with her employer. The notes from the mini lecture defines realism was meant to record life as it was not as it should be. The narrator states that Anne “was of solid middle-class south german stock” (15). A middle-class servant would not be able to so freely move from job to job as Anne did. The other aspects of the story seem grounded in realism. They were both immigrants who found work that they could do. I saw the most connection between The Gentle Lena and the Jazz singer. Jakie defies his parents’ wishes and becomes a Jazz singer. He breaks away from tradition and fully embraces his new American one. Lena marries a man because her parents wanted her to. So she obeys her parents and keeps their traditions alive.

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  12. Repetition is used to develop the characters in “The Good Anna”, and “The gentle Lena”, in order for the reader to get a clear description of the protagonists of said stories. In “The Good Anna”, the line “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” is fairly repeated throughout the rest of the story, and is meant to show how difficult and tiring was Anna’s job to do therefore leading to be this woman that always scolds at others. In “The Gentle Lena”, the words “patient” and “gentle” are also fairly repeated when Lena is mentioned, this is blatantly done so to described the characteristics of Lena. Another thing that repeated is the phrase that “it was all a peaceful life for Lena. The other girls, of course did teaser, but then that only made a gentle stir within her”, is done so because it shows how foolishly she is and is perceived by others.

    To be honest, listening to Stein read “A completed Portrait of Picasso” was really annoying and headache inducing. The repetition here is more obvious than say the other two stories, which I get the point that it made it more clear, but sometimes it was harder to understand with the background music. Because of this I paid more attention to the music than the actual reading.

    “Three Lives” seems to depart from realism when in “The Good Anna”; the idea of romance is not the ideal situation of the era that it was written in. The idea of Anna having a romance with another of the same sex seemed to ludicrous back then although it is much more realistic in era we live in now. Although it does depart, there are still aspects of realism in “The Gentle Lena” wherein two persons are obliged to marry each other to their parent’s liking. It also still feels like a work of realist fiction because of the third person narrator of the stories, and the ordinary, non-heroic characters in such work. Also psychological realism is still evident because, the true feelings of characters in both stories are revealed to the reader.

    Depictions of immigrants in “Three Lives” and The Jazz Singer are similar is certain ways, because certain traditions are expected of the protagonists to follow as their family had also followed. In “The Gentle Lena” Lena and Herman are expected to marry each other and although one objects it is still gone through with, unlike in The Jazz Singer where Jackie does what his fathers forbids him to do, which to sing and perform jazz music.

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  13. There are repetition of words in “The Good Anna.” Some examples are “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” (7). It is also repeated in the next page as “You see that Anna led an arduous and troubled life” (8). It also repeats how Anna managed Miss Mathilda’s little house. Both characters seem very similar. Anna is a servant but so is Lena “She had been a servant for four years and had liked it very well” (149). They both like their jobs as servants. Also, they are both German immigrants.
    After listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso,” I was able to notice the musicality in the poem. I also thought that the repetition was part of the author’s style of writing in order to give emphasis on what she wants the reader to consider important.
    Three Lives seems to be a work of realist fiction because it is written in third-person. Both characters are ordinary, middle class, non-heroic characters. Three Lives seems to depart from realism because Anna leaves her job as a servant because she disagreed with the lady of the house. She also gives money to others who do not pay her back.
    The characters in Three Lives are similar to the character in The Jazz Singer because both are immigrants. They both have come to America and have learned to adapt to the new environment. Both Anna and Lena like their jobs as servants. It is similar to Jack Robin who also enjoys his job as a jazz singer.

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    1. I think it’s interesting that the idea of Anna leaving her job is a departure from realism. She does fit the characteristic non-heroic type protagonist but she manages to break free of that convention by choosing to exercise control in her career. Anna, Lena, and Jack Robin enjoying their careers is also an interesting comparison, especially considering that they’re all immigrants.

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    2. Totally agree that listening to “A Completed Portrait of Picasso”, has a musicality to the poem, that would’ve never been notice if we didn’t listen to someone read it. I also agree how Three Lives is a work of realist fiction because of the ordinary lives the two women lived. Great response.

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  14. The reader has a clear sense of several things about Anna and the women under her tutelage; that they lead difficult lives and that they are german (Stein’s lowercase spelling of the ethnicity). This is restated throughout “The Good Anna,” usually following an anecdote about the character or one of her subordinates (“You see that Anna led an arduous and troubled life”) (8). Similarly, several of the women in “The Gentle Lena” are described using the word “earth,” referring to their peasant roots. This is almost a derogatory reference for Lena in the story’s beginning, as her cousins detest her “earth roughness” because they view it as ugly and brutish (153). These, and other characteristics that would suggest a departure from the pure, white standard of girlhood, serve as the starting point for Lena in her story.

    Listening to the poem made it more accessible to me, especially with the musical accompaniment. The lines that weren’t repeated were, ironically, the ones that stuck with me the most (specifically, “Let me recite what history teaches”). I’m not sure if this reverse-emphasis was intended or if that’s typically the way the poem is read or interpreted. Interestingly enough it didn’t sound at all strange or difficult in recording, although this is probably due to the music it was paired with. Repeated lyrics are rarely questioned or perceived as tedious, while poetry, spoken or unspoken, usually feels tiresome when the same lines are stated over and over again.

    The repetition in the stories emphasizes the themes well, although this device is reminiscent of Stein’s poetry and has a feeling of abstraction, which does detract from the otherwise realistic style of the writing. The thorough descriptions of the characters, in their physical appearances and their personalities, is another characteristic of realist literature. Stein is able to shift between perspectives rather seamlessly, allowing for the characteristic omniscient narration (such as when she switches from the thoughts of Lena to those of her cousins in “The Gentle Lena”). Additionally, the occupations of the protagonists in both stories would be attributable to the non-heroic realist character, as well as the speech of Anna, which is candidly recorded.

    Anna is a german cook and Lena is a german servant, while Jack Robin is a Jewish-American singer and performer. Their careers are obviously different in form and presentation; Jack dreams of “making it big” in show business, while Anna and Lena most hope to please the women of their homes and can relish in a life that is merely “almost as pleasant as a peaceful leisure” (152). We see the differences in culture; both Anna and Lena are German immigrants, while Jack is second-generation Jewish-American (although Jack’s parents may have emigrated from Germany or a European region). Regarding gender, both Lena and Anna have to deal with the life of a female immigrant, which often means being restricted to the domestic sphere of labor, while Jack is able to become a self-made man of the career of his dreams. While the viewer sees Jack grow from an unconventional musical prodigy from an Orthodox Jewish family to a successful man, the reader sees only glimpses into Anna and Lena’s childhoods through the children that they help raise. SImilarly, the advances of Anna, Lena, and Jack are all placed in comparison to that of black Americans; Jack uses blackface as a mask through which to perform jazz, and Lena is forced to reconcile with the disapproval of her cousins, by whom she is considered to be “as far below them as were italian or negro workmen” (153).

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    1. I found your response very interesting and true, particularly the response to A Completed Portrait of Picasso, and how most of us found it annoying, but not so much when lyrics are repeated in song. Great response.

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  15. 1. How is repetition—of the same words and phrases in description and dialogue both, and of the same and similar actions and interactions with others—used to develop the characters of “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”? Cite and analyze examples for each character.
    The repetition in both of them helps us know who the characters are. In “The Good Anna” it was repeated so that we can try to really get into the character. As well as the titles of them, we have “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” which automatically makes an announcement before you even start to read it. In “The Good Anna” we have where it was said “Anna led an arduous and troubled life”, which this is where we get some incite on who she is and why she is so nice and loving towards all. We also have “The Gentle Lena” where we have Lena being portrayed as “..patient, gentle, sweet…”, and it gives examples of her being patient when being scolded. Repetition makes us really understand what the author is trying to get by, and it may be tedious but it does the job.

    2. Did listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” provide any insight for you into her use of repetition in Three Lives? Why or why not?
    It kept making me sing “now, not now, and now” when she would, but I actually found it extremely hard to keep up with where she was reading. I was also so distracted by the background music, but I do understand the repetition if it is for someone to remember something specific.

    3. Given the definition and conventions of realism and psychological realism I provided in my Mini Lecture 3 and the linked notes for it, in what ways does Three Lives seem to depart from realism? In what ways does it still seem like a work of realist fiction, and particularly of psychological realism? Be specific and cite evidence.
    It strayed away from being realism when we have Anna just leaving her job, and being completely okay with it. Especially in the era where woman weren’t just hired like a male would be. Then these two reading are some what realism in the way of them being just normal people. They weren’t anyone’s hero, they didn’t become anyone famous, and they lived their lives working as we all do.

    4. How would you compare the depiction and aspirations of immigrants in the Three Lives to The Jazz Singer? Be specific
    There is a lot of similarities in all three of these. We have where people aren’t accepted, such as; how Jakie wasn’t accepted by his dad as his wanting to pursue jazz singing. We also have where we have a servant being treated differently since she is German and a servant.

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    1. The repetition in the stories do help understand who the characters are. I agree that the titles of the stories do give the reader an idea of what the character is like. The Good Anna is a helpful and generous character. The Gentle Lena is a patient and gentle character.

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  16. In the story Anna is described as good. Lena is described as the gentle one. These two traits are used as repetition to enforce the theme of the two girls throughout the story. I felt that these two traits being stuck to the girls to signify the lower status that the girls had.Listening to Stein did not do much for me because of the music, no matter how much I tried to focus I couldn’t get past it. I did however recognize the repetition very firmly throughout his reading. It leaves realism in certain areas, like when Anna gives money to someone who continuously wont pay her back. Or with Lena and Hermans marriage, in life people would not get married if they did not want to. Three Lives and relate to each other through the empowerment of immigrants.

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  17. 1.Anna’s character in “The Good Anna,” is just as the title describes her-good. She pretty much takes care of everyone that comes across her path. Stein describes Anna’s life as “an arduous and troubled” one. This phrase is repeated all throughout the story as she comes across various situations in her life that reinforce the hard life she lives. From having to manage the house for Miss Mathilda (7) to discovering the boy Sallie was bringing into the house (13) and many other situations that forced her to make decisions. For Lena’s character in “The Gentle Lena,” she is constantly referred to as a gentle creature even in opposition, it “only made a gentle stir within her” (150). However, her passiveness was often taken as a negative. Stein says “…Lena always stood there so stupid and did not saner what anybody asked her…” (161). This phrase is repeated multiple times throughout the story when Lena was in moments of conflict or when she faced opposition such as when Herman was nowhere to be found. I think this repetition enforces the lack of action on Lena’s part throughout her life whenever she faced opposition.

    2.I honestly do not think that listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” helped provide any insight into her use of repetition. I found it very difficult to follow and was very distracted by the music it was being spoken to. Reading it alone, I did see the similarity of the repetition but was able to focus on it more without the recording.

    3.Focusing on “The Good Anna,” I think in some ways it departed from realism was in the actions of Anna. Anna works and saves most of her money and gives people the money expecting them to pay her back when they are able to. These people would never pay her back or be thankful for her sacrifice. When she payed for Julie and Charley’s wedding, they spent the money they did have on frivolous things instead of returning the money to Anna (46). In reality, if a person say that after loaning money the individuals did not pay them back they would learn not continue to give out their money. But Anna continues to do so because she is good. In this sense, the narrator seems to be omniscient and understanding of Anna’s actions and is told in third person like realist fiction.

    4.I think in The Jazz Singer and in Three Lives, there is this sense of trying to please another individual. In The Jazz Singer, Jakie longs to please his parents but still wants to become a jazz singer. Eventually, he comes around and sings in the synagogue for his father. In Three Lives, Anna sticks around with Mrs. Lehntman even though she does not agree with the things she does but feels that she must. Lena marries Herman to please her parents even though she does not fully want to. All of these individuals are attempting to embrace American culture in their lives but are held slightly by the need to please.

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    1. I agree with your comment about listening to Stein read her poem didn’t really do much to help me understand the work. The music, I found, was incredibly distracting. Reading the work alone helped me more than listening to it.

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  18. 1. In “The Good Anna,” has a repetition phrase when Anna is described to have a “arduous and troubled life” meaning that Anna had a troublesome and hardship because she was head of the kitchen and had to train other servants that she felt did not qualified for the job (7). Anna like to help others and also has a soft heart caring for the three dogs. In “The Gentle Lena,” a repetition phrase that characterize Lena is “patient, gentle, sweet and German,” means that Lena was passive and she would do what people say(149). Both of the characters are German immigrants and they are both servants. There is interaction between “The Gentle Lena” by using similarities phrases as “Lena’s good” (149) and “girl Mathlida” (152) that is related to “The Good Anna.”

    2. After reading “A Completed Portrait of Picasso,” by Stein I had a hard time following what she was trying to say in this poem and got confused what she was describing. I definitely noticed the used of repetition in this poem; however, I prefer “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” because she uses repetition in a different way letting the readers know the back story of the characters and you can really follow along what she was trying to say by using repeated sentence. The repetition in sentence are hardly noticed in stories than in poems.

    3. Both “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” use realism in the story because they are both German girls that are brought to Bridge point to work as servant in a household. in”the Good Anna,” Anna seem to depart from realism when she makes up excuses to Miss Mathilda whenever Miss Mathilda goes overseas when she had to fire the other servants. “I got sick, and then she went away and left me all alone..(12). Realist fiction used in “The Gentle Lena,” used when Lena was pressured to marry Herman Kreder. Herman didn’t care much about marrying Lena and he was obedient to his parents so he did what they told him to do (157). The narrator uses third person to describe Lena and Herman thoughts. Also the psychological realism is that both Lena and Herman are much alike; however, they live in different worlds and they don’t have a connection between them. One example, “He liked to be with men and he hated to have women with them (157)” and another “She too was german and was thrifty, though she was always so dreamy and not there (167),” they both had so much in common, but they weren’t happy together.

    4. The “Three Lives” and “The Jazz Singer” are different stories, but the depiction from it is that they are both immigrants in America. Jackie from “The Jazz Singer,” he had a dream to become a jazz singer; however, he was persuade his tradition at one point to grant his dying father his wish to sing for his people in Israel song. Jackie was able to break his tradition at one point and only did one favor for his parents. Like Jackie, Herman had no choice but to marry Lena because he obey his parents and would not object. You can pretty much picture an arrange marriage where you have no choice, but to obey and follow the tradition. There was no feeling between Herman and Lena, but he loved his children. Its sad that whenever Lena gave birth she would be come more and more lifeless and would die eventually in trying to give birth to the fourth.

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  19. The first thing I noticed reading “The Good Anna” in terms of repetition was the use of “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” (Stein 7, 8, 13…) littered throughout the text. This sort of repetition further drives the point of how “good” Anna is despite her own life being tedious. The line, “But you must, please Miss Mathilda!” (Stein 9) also shows some of her desperation as an individual, which humanizes her. Everyone has a breaking point, and Molly is one example. In “The Gentle Lena” the phrase “Lena did not know” (Stein 153, 156) is used in regards to her dimwittedness, which helps make the line “she knew very well how Mary meant it all” (Stein 163) more impactful. Lena is a tragic character in that she is sweet but not all there, and when Herman leaves her that final message stings because I came to the realization that while Lena has internal issues she was dealing with, she is still a person that can be hurt externally by others.
    Overall, it was easier to recognize repetition in “A Completed Portrait of Picasso”, but I think this is also because the poem already has more prevalent repetition than “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”. It highlighted for me that reading out loud may help me recognize when certain phrases or lines are repeated. Listening to Stein also made it more humorous than just reading it. The line “Who came first Napoleon at first’ and the subsequent lines about Napoleon were funny to hear out loud. I can see how reading about Anna and Lena out loud may elicit different feelings than just reading them in my head.
    Going by William Dean Howells’ definition of realism, the characters from Three Lives, while fictional, all have traits that are representative of ordinary people. We do not need huge suspension of disbelief to emphasize with Anna or Lena. Their traits may not be real, but they are believable. Anna had issues handling Molly. An exaggerated “good” character may have no breaking point and handle every person or issue that they come across without complaint but not Anna. Minute flaws in these characters humanize them. However, there is a disconnect from realism and historical context that cannot be avoided, which is when Anna constantly leaves because Miss Mathilda does not bow to her wishes. Although it is believable for someone to be a flakey individual, it is less likely that they have the means to constantly leave their place of employment. It is more common place for people to stick with jobs they do not like to maintain their lifestyle and survive.
    The Jazz Singer differs because Jakie subverted his parents’ wishes to get into jazz, while Lena wanted to please her parents. Lena follows the traditions of her people and does not attempt to go against the grain in the hopes that she can please them, which does not happen because of Herman leaving her in disgrace. However, Jakie is also disowned by his father for choosing to do the opposite. These two different stories show that aspirations and goals can be different for people depending on their home culture. While there is a pull toward individualistic ideas, there is also the desire to please the family.

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  20. In “Three Lives”, author Gertrude Stein uses repetition in his wording, in order to create development for his characters, “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”. In one particular instance, Stein uses repetition to describe the house in which Miss Mathilda lives in. He writes, “Anna managed the whole little house for Miss Mathilda”. He continues by saying “it was a little house” several more times. This helps the reader to remember; it also gives the audience a chance to visualize a part of Anna’s life, and serves as a reminder of her duties. By repeating this phrase, one can see that Anna’s life is repetitive too. In “The Gentle Lena”, Stein introduces a young woman named Lena, whom is a servant. When she meets a man named Herman Kreder, the narrator repeats that Mrs. Haydon “Spoke to Lena very often about Herman”, on the subject of marriage. At first, Lena does not spend much time thinking about marriage, but because Mrs. Haydon repeats herself over and over, she finally gives in and decides to marry him. In this instance, Lena’s judgement is developing.
    While listening to Stein read his poem, “A Completed Portrait of Picasso”, it was easy to notice that his repetition and tone led me to identify the most important elements from the reading. While this was a benefit, the downside is that it is easier to lose focus with Stein’s constant need to repeat himself.
    “Three Lives” begins to depart from realism, particularly when Anna begins to talk to her dogs. She says, “Peter if you don’t leave Baby alone, I take a rawhide to you, you bad dog”, as if they can actually understand her. This distracts her from actual people in her life and the relationships she has with them. However, the book returns to psychological realism in the case of Herman Kreder. Relatably, he lives out his life in order to please his parents, and does everything as they imagine. With this psychological advantage they have over him, it leads him to behave like a servant.
    “The Jazz Singer” and “Three Lives” depict immigrants similarly, perhaps because they were written around the same time period. These works clearly show that immigrants in this time were at a disadvantage in America, as they were looked down upon, and expected to start from the bottom. Many of them were expected to serve. They also lived lesser; their lives consisted of dirty work and conditions were second to most other privileged US citizens.

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    1. I like how you mentioned that immigrants in that time were at a disadvantage in America and I believe that as well. These two stories and The Jazz Singer show plenty of similar characteristics but the do depict immigrant similarly. Also in “The Good Anna” the story does go away from realism when she starts talking to the dogs.

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  21. 1. After reading the lecture notes Guerra de la Torre’s, idea that repetition is not always direct and specific but can be seen in the tendency to repeat the same message through “infinite variation” really seemed to stick with me; especially when reading “The Gentle Lena”. Though of course the repeated phrase about her gentleness is present I also noticed a constant mention of similar soft words, all working to mold Lena as this basic, passive and plain woman. Most notable is the paragraph describing her as “brown”; a “little brown creature” with brown hair and all other things engulfed in “the pureness” of the color. In the “Good Anna” there are other examples beyond “good” or “gentle” as used for either main character of the stories. For example Miss
    Mathilda being the love of Anna’s life is portrayed as someone needing such a head strong yet forgiving caretaker just by the way her dialogue is described as something being “whined” ,”cried”, “groaned”, or “moaned” every single time. The timing of these repetitive descriptions are also important to note. Anna is “good Anna” when she is preforming her duties flawlessly and without emotional disruption but she is simply “Anna” when conversations between herself and Mathilda take less professional tones; like when they argued and pleaded between each other what to do with Molly. She is “anna” when distraught but “the good anna” when professional and deciding to send Molly away.
    2. The repetition in the short stories are different from the repetition of “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” where they are back to back more similar to a song if anything else. The repeated words in the stories have plenty of filler words between them as to keep the storyline concise. It provided little insight and like many of my classmates I’ll have to agree that the music was distracting. I couldn’t help but think of it as a song more than poetry where words are often repeated for their boost for listening please rather than that of the piece’s actual message.
    3. Some have mentioned the deviation from realism being the characters to repeat mistakes where they “should have” learned better however it is the point of realism to “record life as it was lived rather than life as it ought to be lived” and it is a very realistic human tendency to act in accordance with how we want the world to work and try futilely over and over again to make it that way. We all repeat mistakes and as most people, don’t learn the first time; as humans we are hopelessly stubborn and stuck in our hopes and ideals. The actions are simple and realistic, the dialogue vernacular, and the narrator omniscient though I feel the deviation stems from the narrator not totally being able to be objective. The fault and closer alliance to psychological realism is in the tendency to involve themselves with the “subjectivity of characters”. I feel like this is most obvious in “The Good Anna” where the narrator is telling the story revolved around Anna’s life but also tends to describe other characters through Anna’s eyes rather than stay completely unbiased. For example the narrators descriptions(mostly personality traits subject to opinion) of the are later reflected in Anna’s own opinionated dialogue. Take for example the word for word reflect of Old Katy’s “rough old” description mirrored perfectly by Anna saying “Old Katy is just a rough old woman”. This is the case for most of the other maids as well. Its also important to note that the characters rather than be beings of their own are embodied and stripped of complexity; their identity is given by Anna and maintained with a bias narrator. Not that this is a negative thing but interferes with the ability to call deem this a perfect example of realism.
    4. The aspirations of the characters in the stories and The Jazz Singer are different in that Anna and Lena find they are content with middle class settlements, something more real and relatable to the every day reader just trying to make ends meet. It also seems that the Jazz Singer had to sacrifice a lot more of his minority identity to assimilate, the main struggle was deciding which persona to embody and showcase where Anna was a German immigrant with an undeniable accent who got along famously with local law enforcement and the Gentle Lena taken in for a marriage proposal without having to entirely ditch her German background either.

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    1. I had not even considered that she was only “Anna” when speaking only with Mathilda. You mentioned “The Good Anna” being told through Anna’s perspective and commented on some of the characters’ inability to learn from their mistakes and change, which add to the realism. This takes me back to the end of Catcher in the Rye, when Holden is speaking about how his psychologist thinks he will start applying himself, and Holden says, ” I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it?”. This quote makes perfect sense to me in regards to the characters not learning from their mistakes. As you mentioned, people are fairly stubborn, and old habits die hard.

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  22. In, “The Good Anna” the repetion that was used to describe Peter, the youngest dog, made me feel as if he was a human instead of a dog, “Peter!”… “Peter if you don’t leave Baby alone.” Also, the repetion in the title, “The Good Anna” and then then the description of Anna, “Anna Federner, this good Anna…” In the story, “The Gentle Lena”, the repetion was more than just repeating their names, but qualities as well, “Herman Kreder… was quiet and was sullen and he knew he could not help it… It was not the Herman did not like Lena Mainz. She was as as good as any other girl could be for him. She was a little better perhaps than other girls he was…” Listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” made me feel a little anxious actuall hearing the repetion read outloud at that pace. I felt like I was getting lost and stuck on certain words. The use of repetition in both describes the living sintuations of each character in detail. When looking at, “The Good Anna” a good majority of it actually seemed to follow the definiton of realism given, but then there are those lines in the story that stir away from it. One of the ways in which it stirs away from realism is in the description of the characters like “the good Anna” and “the bad Peter”. On page 43 of “The Good Anna” their is a desription of Peter the dog talikg, which isn’t realistic at all, “When Peter was left downstairs alone, he howled. “I am all alone”, he wailed…”

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  23. 1. How is repetition—of the same words and phrases in description and dialogue both, and of the same and similar actions and interactions with others—used to develop the characters of “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”? Cite and analyze examples for each character.
    The title of the story “The Good Anna” served as an emphasis on Anna as a person, someone who is kind, gentle, and with good interests. “Anna led an arduous and troubled life” was repeated multiple times throughout the story to emphasize that regardless of her struggles and immigration status she is still human.

    2.Did listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” provide any insight for you into her use of repetition in Three Lives? Why or why not?
    Listening to “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” really assisted me in comprehending the themes that were presented in the story. As I tried to read it myself I noticed that I tended to not emphasize the alliteration and understand the effect that had until I heard it read out loud. The music in the background was a bit distracting and it only made it harder to focus on the words being said, however after multiple times of listening to the story I think the use of repetition really helped Stein elaborate on her points being made.

    3. Given the definition and conventions of realism and psychological realism I provided in my Mini Lecture 3 and the linked notes for it, in what ways does Three Lives seem to depart from realism? In what ways does it still seem like a work of realist fiction, and particularly of psychological realism? Be specific and cite evidence.
    Three Lives departs from realism in the sense that Anna seems to be extremely naive for her age. She would loan people money with the expectation to get paid back but in reality the chances of that happening are slim to none. Also when she leaves her job as a servant simply because she does not agree with how the workplace is ran is unrealistic because she must support herself somehow. It seems like realist fiction because the characters and plot events seem like they could happen in real life and not extremely fictional. Three Lives focuses on psychological realism because we are following characters that are making decisions that involve their true feelings and making decisions based on their heart.

    4.How would you compare the depiction and aspirations of immigrants in the Three Lives to The Jazz Singer? Be specific.
    In “Three Lives” and “The Jazz Singer” there were similarities in the depiction of aspirations of immigrants in the sense that both main characters were striving for something that was out of their cultural norms. In “The Jazz Singer” Jakie wanted to be a singer in which he had to go against his parents wishes just like Herman had no choice but to marry Lena to please his parents. It is a common theme in both stories that immigrants had more to sacrifice than non-immigrants in order to live a seemingly normal life.

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    1. I also agree with what you said about how the music in the background was distracting. I thought it was as well because it was hard to listen to the words out loud. The Jazz Singer and Three Lives do show aspirations of immigrants because they were longing for something out of the norm. You can use these two to represent different situations in immigrants in America during this time but all in all it was equal in the sense that they both wanted something different.

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    2. I agree with your comment on the background music being distracting. Usually I can listen to music while doing homework and it doesn’t bother me, but when I’m really trying to focus on something to comprehend it better (like this) background noise takes my attention rather than what I am reading. I also agree with how Three Lives seemed like realist fiction because what Anna went through and actions she made are totally relatable in real life, not just literature.

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  24. 1. In “The Good Anna,” Stein frequently mentions Mrs. Lehntman to be Anna’s only romance she ever knew which allows the reader to project their personal experiences with their first romances thus, making some of Anna’s choices and indecisions valid because people tend to do outside of their character when they are in love—first loves are especially blinding. This constant reminder of Anna’s first romance acts as a contrast—a juxtaposition with Anna herself; Anna when she isn’t interacting with Mrs. Lehntman versus Anna when she is with Mrs. Lehntman—to Anna’s daily habits and actions with other characters. Stein has developed this character to show that, no matter how tough or stubborn Anna may be, when she is with Mrs. Lehntman, even fortune tellers—despite her own rigorous Catholic faith—can decide her future. Lena, in “The Gentle Lena,” always had decisions concerning her future made for her. Mrs. Haydon decides for Lena that she must get married to a twenty-eight year old who would much rather spend his time with other men and doesn’t really care for marriage. In this story, Stein frequently mentions the fact that both Herman and Lena don’t want to get married but will do whatever their guardian or parent will tell them to. This repetition accentuates the childlike behavior of both these characters. Their fear of speaking out and simply coping with their arranged circumstances gives them an emptiness and desperation that is often felt when a life is lived with very little choice or joy.
    2. Listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” was interesting. I did not care for the music but I found myself saying (singing?) along to her “now, not now, now” line whenever she did and even after the poem (song?) was over. I felt like I understood Stein’s use of repetition in Three Lives better than her use of repetition in the poem. I tried to make sense of the fragments in the poem but I felt like I was reading random thoughts—almost like fragments of a stream of consciousness—rather than a coherent poem. I am determined, however, to understand this work.
    3. Three Lives deviates from realism because of the personal descriptions we get from the characters rather than a true third person, objective description. The layer of bias these descriptions contain allows the reader to form preconceived ideas and inaccurate opinions about these characters. For example, Anna is very partial to Edgar Wadsmith simply because he is a boy and Anna prefers boys to girls. The reader does not know his true character thus, cannot make accurate conclusions concerning the boy. Whereas Julia Wadsmith is immediately seem with more hostility because she is not a boy. The reader does not know if Julia’s misbehavior when she is younger is due to the fact that Anna was far stricter with Julia and was seeking attention.
    4. Jackie, in “The Jazz Singer,” lives in a strict household where he is expected to do as he is told, just like Lena and Herman are expected in “The Gentle Lena.” However, Jackie does not conform to his household rules and runs away with his dreams to live a happy and fulfilled life; whereas Lena and Herman do conform and live an empty personal life with a story that should be considered a happy one—as they are constantly told.

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  25. 1. How is repetition—of the same words and phrases in description and dialogue both, and of the same and similar actions and interactions with others—used to develop the characters of “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena”? Cite and analyze examples for each character.

    Repetition in literature is used as a literary device to express rhetoric, illustrate characterization and express heavy emphasis on whichever line in the story is being told with an attempt to stress its importance to the reader. The best way to discern character within an individual is through observing how the person speaks, along with what is being said. Thoughts, sentiments, and feelings spoken about an object or person reveal an opinion. The opinion—whether positive or negative proves character within the character of a person. Written in third-person point of view, the repetition used in Gloria Stein’s “The Good Anna” and “The Gentle Lena” also explains the setting, revealing a place and time in history. The tone, voice, and style are written as if one recalls events and moments in a conversation about the past. The setting serves as a subtle foreshadow for the reader to learn culture and background.
    In the short story “The Good Anna”, the main character Anna is portrayed as having a strong will and voice that reprimands with authority:

    Her voice was a high and piercing one
    when she called to the teamsters and to the other wicked men, what
    she wanted that should come to them, when she saw them beat a horse or
    kick a dog. She did not belong to any society that could stop them
    and she told them so most frankly, but her strained voice and her
    glittering eyes, and her queer piercing german english first made them
    afraid and then ashamed. They all knew too, that all the policemen
    on the beat were her friends. These always respected and obeyed
    Miss Annie, as they called her, and promptly attended to all of her
    Complaints (Stein1).

    The above descriptive words “high” and “piercing” have negative undertones, while echoing something mighty and strong. The policemen are figures of authority, they respect and [obey] Anna as if she were the boss. To further emphasize the power of Anna, the writer continues to build on her character a second time with repetition. Again, it is mentioned that Anna is in charge:

    For five years Anna managed the little house for Miss Mathilda. In
    these five years there were four different under servants (Steinp3).

    The same repetition takes place describing the main character in “The Gentle Lena.” Lena is described as gentle, kind and gullible. Her naivete is illustrated when she reacts in a way that suggests she believes poison is on her finger. Repetition is shown every time Lena looks at her finger or rubs it on her clothing. The repetition of the action serves as a reminder of Lena’s innocence:

    And so they all three sat with their little charges in the pleasant
    sunshine a long time. And Lena would often look at her finger and
    wonder if it was really poison that she had just tasted and then she
    would rub her finger on her dress a little harder (Stein1).

    2. Did listening to Stein read “A Completed Portrait of Picasso” provide any insight for you into her use of repetition in Three Lives? Why or why not?

    Listening to Stein read the poem “A Complete Portrait of Picasso” did not deepen my understanding on repetition. In poetry, line breaks are used for emphasis on meaning. The repetitiveness in the above poem mentioned tells the reader to pay attention. The music was distracting and it lessened my appreciation of the piece.

    3. Given the definition and conventions of realism and psychological realism I provided in my Mini Lecture 3 and the linked notes for it, in what ways does Three Lives seem to depart from realism? In what ways does it still seem like a work of realist fiction, and particularly of psychological realism? Be specific and cite evidence.

    In this work of fiction, realism is evident in Three Lives. The characters are created with lives that can be lived in real world situations—which creates the concept of realist fiction. Examples of realism (real-life actions performed) were cited above. Anna has a role in society as a woman high in the social rank, a woman to be respected. The meekness in Lena shows a real-world personality trait. Psychological realism focuses on the inner conflict of character. It seems like the short stories were structured to echo psychological realism because the inner thoughts and motivations in the exposition were shown in repetition:

    Miss Mary, like her Anna, had no strong natural feeling to love
    children, but she was fond of these two young ones of her blood, and
    yielded docilely to the stronger power in the really pleasing little
    girl. Anna always preferred the rougher handling of the boy, while
    Miss Mary found the gentle force and the sweet domination of the girl
    to please her better (Stein3).

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