Continuing Three Lives: Free Indirect Discourse

1) ONLY AFTER LISTENING to my 25-minute Mini Lecture 4, and reading the linked notes on Jayne Walker’s essay and about free indirect discourse, find and closely analyze an example of free indirect discourse in “Melanctha.” How does it reflect the character’s perspective and his or her typical use of language, even though it is in the third person? Quote and analyze closely, paying attention to the connotation of words and phrases in context, especially repeated words and phrases.

2) How do Jeff and Melanctha understand their relationship, and how is this reflected in the language, including syntax, each of them uses about each other in their thoughts (narrated by the third-person narrator, often using free indirect discourse) and in dialogue, in talking to each other? Be specific and cite evidence.

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70 Comments

  1. In Gertrude Stein’s “Melanctha,” there are several instances in which free indirect discourse is used. For example, when Jeff and Melanctha begin to spend more time together after her mother’s death, free indirect discourse is used to get a better sense of Jeff’s feelings. Stein writes, “Jeff always loved now to be with Melanctha and yet he always hated to go to her. Somehow he was always afraid when he was to go to her, and yet he hd made himself very certain that here he would not be a coward. He never felt any of this being afraid, when he was with her” (85). Although the passage is in the third person, we are able to see the insecurity Jeff was feeling regarding his feelings about Melanctha and their friendship. It shows that Jeff’s point of view was very limited to strictly himself and his thoughts were hesitant about his relationship with Melanctha.
    When Jeff confronts Melanctha with the things Jane Harden says about her, we are able to see them interact within their relationship. There is a sense of complete fondness between the two that acts as a guiding factor in their interactions. After Jeff tells Melanctha of the things he heard about her, she was upset. Stein writes “It was not the power of Melanctha’s words that held him, for, for them, he had his answer, it was the power of the mood that filled Melanctha, and for that he had no answer” (95). The free indirect discourse in this case informs the reader that while Jeff is taken back by Melanctha it is more so to the things that he has yet to learn about her and that is what fascinates him of her. In his response to her, he constantly repeats her name to reassure himself and assure her that he had a right to know those things about her. Melanctha, after going back and forth with Jeff, eventually just “leaned over him an kissed him, ‘I am very fond of you, Jeff Campbell’ (96). Although the two have much to learn of each other, it is clearly seen in their interactions as they can become hostile in their tone, body language, and inner thoughts, their fondness of each other keeps them at a point of forgiveness and an attempt to understanding in their relationship.

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    1. I thought of the spontaneous kiss as a foreshadowing of their future unhealthy relationship. They are uncomfortable discussing their feelings openly with one another and Melanctha resorts to physical affection to stop a conversation they should be having. Jeff also based much of his feelings for Melanctha on things he had heard from a spurned lover rather than actually talking to Melanctha himself while Melanctha was obsessed with Jeff possibly being “the one.”This didn’t seem like the right way to start a relationship.

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    2. I never thought about looking at Jeff’s character when looking at free indirect discourse. I was too focused on Melanctha’s character and her personality. But I enjoy reading your opinion on Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship with one another. I think that Melanctha saying, “I an very fond of you, Jeff Campbell,” speaks of sibling love than a romantic one. After all, it never says where she kissed him.

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    3. The free indirect discourse was such an interesting perspective because you get an all knowing point of view of what is going on (3rd person) combined with a single characters point of view. I found it a lot easier to understand Melanctha’s and Jeff’s relationship because like you said, you can see that they are a little hostile towards each other but their inner thought show that they do actually care for each other.

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  2. 1. An example of free indirect discourse that can be found in “Melanctha” would be Melanctha’s thoughts regarding her parents, more specifically towards her father. After her father got angry with her about hanging around a man named and she was being punished, “She held out and never answered anything he asked her, for Melanctha had breakneck courage and she just then badly hated her black father” (Stein, 59). Melanctha’s word choice of “just the badly” shows the broken speech like she is talking to fast and her words are slurred. But the use of “breakneck courage” here appears throughout the novella when describing Melanctha shows that she has a backbone and she is willing to use it.

    2. When Jeff is first introduced to us, Jeff, “had never believed that [Melanctha] was any good” (Stein, 69). In fact, he believes that he would prefer the company of Melanctha’s friend, Jane Harden, then Melanctha herself. Although the two seems to butt heads at each other, they grow closer and develop a sort of friendship with one another. They go through some rough patches and eventually Jeff’s feelings develop into a love for Melanctha but tells Jeff that she sees him as a brother. While they were caring for Melanctha’s mother, their dialogue appears to friendly and open to any kinds of topics. Especially regarding their opposite beliefs. With Jeff having a black and white view of the world while Melanctha looks at the world as a place to constantly wander. Two clashing personalities coming together and forming a friendship that could have led to romance, if not for Melanctha’s brotherly love for Jefferson Campbell.

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    1. A lot of the characters personalities and feelings come across through free indirect discourse. I think Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship was mostly explained through this method. I thought their relationship was particularly interesting because they were both always at different stages. I feel like Jeff loved Melanctha more than she loved him. Jeff had moments where he expressed a deep love for Melanctha but she was mostly occupied by other things. They were both very different and like you said they were always classing with each other. I think that is the reason their love was stuck at the friendship stage.

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  3. 1. In the reading of “Melanctha” the author uses third person omniscient narrator as the form to tell the story, however it has aspects of free indirect discourse which allows the reader to gain an insight on the story through the characters perspective. By using this technique, the reader can see the thought process, perspectives and speech of a certain character without the interruption by the narrator. It was difficult to understand exactly when this was happening at times simply because I am not used to seeing this style of technique. It not only lets us understand how the specific character like Jeff Campbell feels about a situation but also allows us to see how whoever he is interacting with feels about it as well. Jeff thoughts blend with the narrators helping push the plot along while helping the reader understand. “And the buds and the long earth-worms, and the negroes, and all the kinds of children, were coming out every minute farther into the new spring watery, southern sunshine” (Stein, 121). I think this is one prime example of free indirect discourse, because it allows the reader to see the world through the eyes of Jeff as he is seeing the situation unfold in front of his eyes.
    2. Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship is a complicated one; they have lots of ups and downs moments throughout the story. A good way to describe their relationships is like an emotional rollercoaster, at times they are on the up meaning they love each other and at other time they cannot stand to be around each other. “It was a struggle that was as sure always to be going on between them, as their minds and hearts always were to have different ways of working” (Stein, p. 393). It definitely is not a healthy relationship for either of them. I think that both Jeff and Melanctha come to understand their relationship is not fully functional and is more just enjoy not feeling lonely rather then it being love yet seem to be okay with it. For example, Melanctha tells Jeff that she does love him just in a “hot passion” (Stein, p.432) type of way and nothing more than that. That clearly tells the reader that she understands the relationship is only functional do to the excitement of it rather than the commitment of love. Jeff’s also understands that even though he has feelings towards Melanctha it will not work because he can never trust her. “I know now no man can ever really hold you because no man can ever be real to trust in you,” (Stein, p.423)

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    1. I completely agree with your response to Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship. Even from the beginning, when Stein constantly writes about how Jeff is unsure of Melanctha’s feelings for him and if this is just a game between them, we can see this relationship is going to be dysfunctional and unhealthy. I think we see this more with Jeff than with Melanctha, however, because his feelings for her change so quickly from disinterest to love. With Melanctha, we get the feeling that she is just obsessed with the idea of love no matter where it comes from. Your points are spot on.

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    2. I agree with description of Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship. Jeff is unsure of Melanctha feelings for him. But I also see that the relationship is unhealthy and is a struggle, its a battle that will continue.

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    3. I agree with your response about Jeff’s feelings towards Melanctha because he was unsure what to feel about her. He was unsure because Jane was telling him everything about Melanctha and how she was a “wandered”. At first he kept his distance away from her and then he realize that she was okay. Melanctha is really not sure about what she wants in life or what kind of partner she wants, so her character is really indecisive in her relationships.

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    4. I completely agree with your response on how Stein integrated the omniscient narrator and the free indirect discourse. Sometimes I did not even notice it was happening either because it blended so well together. I liked that it was able to give us insight on the characters and not interrupt the flow of the story as well.

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    5. I completely agree with your analysis of the relationship as an “emotional roller coaster” and with the fact that though they recognize it is not the love story of their dreams they cant seem to abandon it…. at least so far. However, I think most of their issues lie more in their similarities than differences. For the entirety of each of their lives they’ve moved by their own rules, as stubborn as anyone could be and this difficulty to see from different point of views as easily as our narrator does seems to be when they butt heads. Its so hard for any of them to attribute any happiness or revelation to another person and another problem seems to be their constant rationalizing the company by how the other can fit in their life, mold to their ideals, and offer them rather than think about what they can give or learn. We see this when Melanctha justifies keeping Jeff around by the fact that she’s always wanted this or that type and he fits that idea.

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    6. I think part of the reason why Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship was like a rollercoaster is because they struggled to fully adapt to their feelings for each other. They were unsure of what they wanted. Jeff was also very communicative, whereas Melanctha seemed to struggle addressing her feelings. This could be part of the reason why Jeff considered her untrustworthy.

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  4. One example of free indirect discourse is when Jeff Campbell is thinking of Jane Harden, “Jane Harden was so much a stronger woman, and Jane really had had a good mind, and she had used it to do good things with it, before this drinking business had taken such a hold on her,” (71). I think this is a good example because it is a statement that is repeated in the story. This statement shows what Jeff Campbell thinks of Jane compared to Melanctha. He constantly thinks this about Jane. It is a real look into his actual thoughts and how he thinks this a lot. The narrator tells us in third person what Jeff is thinking in the statements leading up to this statement but, this example of free direct discourse, actually gives us a look into what Jeff’s thoughts are.
    There relationship is complicated relationship. They go back and forth with each other a lot, but they never seem to be quite on the same page with each other. I think they come to understand that their relationship can never really be forever, that there has to be an end at some point. Even though they are able to make up at time, I think they both realize eventually they will have to part ways. Melanctha eventually tells Jeff she only loves him in a hot passion way and Jeff is hurt by it because they realize this is all their love can be.

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    1. Jeff, for someone who isn’t exactly a romance fan all too much, is quite an interesting character. I do like how he is quite the opposite to Melanctha. Whereas Melanctha is very prone to risk taking to the point of breaking her arm, Jeff is calculating but quite passive. Their relationship is an interesting one since they’re the opposite of one another. Gives power to the saying “opposites attract”, but perhaps could show the reality of it since their relationship did come to an end at the end of the book. An additional note is that Melanctha did say that Jeff was almost everything she wanted in a man, but then changed her mind as they continued to engage with one another.

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    2. I totally agree that they have a sort of toxic relationship, and that they tend to go back and forth. They have a roller coaster relationship, which is unhealthy as well as confusing for both people. I also think it’s crazy that she told him that she is only in the relationship due to it being the “hot passion”.

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  5. It would have been very easy for Stein to use just the dialogue of the characters to reveal their education and status, but she takes it one step further and uses it in every aspect of the vignette, especially for free indirect discourse. For example, Stein writes, “Melanctha would spend long hours with Jane in her room, sitting at her feet and listening to her stories, and feeling her strength and the power of her affection, and slowly she began to see clear before her one certain way that would be sure to lead to wisdom” (66). In a current English class, if a student were to use this style of writing, they would get an F, but Stein uses it to show a lack of education and how the character speaks. In this quote, Stein reveals the sexual relationship between Melanctha and Jane and Melanctha’s internal reaction to it. The lack of proper punctuation links this third person insight to Melanctha’s speech. In later passages, Stein repeats the phrase “siting at her feet” until Melanctha realizes she is stronger than Jane and no longer needs her. Using this unorthodox writing style, Stein immerses the reader completely into Melanctha’s mindset and reality.

    Throughout Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship, Stein uses free indirect discourse when they are both too afraid to talk openly with one another. In the beginning, Stein discloses, “Jeff Campbell began to feel that perhaps it was all different. Perhaps it was not just play, with Melanctha. Anyway he liked it very well that she was with him” (82). Later, “there had been much joy between them, more than they ever yet had had with their new feeling. All the day they had lost themselves in warm wandering” (97). In both quotations, Stein uses improper grammar to display uneducated thoughts, though both have been educated beyond their peers, and in both, Stein shows Melanctha and Jeff’s private feelings for each other, Within dialogue, Melanctha is shown to completely comfortable displaying emotion through dialogue as well as calling out Jeff on his perceived wrongdoings (80). Jeff is more hesitant: “why you see I just can’t say that right out that way to you” (80). Stein uses the same grammatical techniques in dialogue as she does in description to provide the reader with continuity, which is effective as the reader quickly gets frustrated with Jeff and roots for Melanctha in her pursue for a relationship.

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    1. For using free indirect discourse to see a lack of education in the character, Stein is pretty clever to use it like that. True they are both more educated than most people that show in the novella, but still their is that lack of proper grammar. Honestly the broken English in this novella had me re-reading most of the sentences because I’m used to reading proper grammar. Reminds me of reading “Catch 22” and those run-on sentences that just made me grit my teeth. But I digress, any who, I like your look at Jeff and Melanctha’s friendship and I was rooting for Melanctha as well.

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    2. I believe that the long hours Jane and Melanctha spent together were very intimate with each other because their relationship drifts apart and then Melanctha begins to “wandered” with other men. But i do agree on your response. Jeff and Melanctha relationship is complicated because they want different things from each other and Melanctha is really confused what she really wants and that makes their relationship to be in a difficult situation.

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    3. I agree with your postulation about having bad grammar in improper dialect. I agree that Stein used genius-level articulation when formulating her characters. They seem to really jump off the page and provide for an intrusive look into the world of rural German immigrant life. Also, I think you’re spot-on talking about Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship. Neither of them quite know what to make of each other’s shyness and actions and eventually Jeff confronts her, but this is telling of the inabilities of the characters in the depth of their vocabulary and lack of talent expressing themselves.

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    4. I really liked the fact that Stein incorporated important aspects of the characters in her use of free indirect discourse. At times it made it a bit uncomfortable because of the lack of proper grammar but it did help enforce the status of the characters even more.

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    5. I completely agree with the statement that Steins story could have done without the free direct discourse and however with it, the reader is allowed to understand better. I also like how you pointed how that if perhaps a student were to use this style they would most likely fail the paper.

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  6. In the reading of “Melanctha” the author uses third person to tell the story, its aspects of free indirect discourse allows the reader to have an insight on the story through the characters eyes. BY using this method the reader can see how the characters minds work and speech of characters. Another example of free indirect discourse found in “Melanctha” would be Melanctha’s feelings about her parents, but more so towards her father. When her father got upset with her about being around a man and she was being reprimanded. This is shown on page 59, “She held out and never answered anything he asked her, for Melanctha had breakneck courage and she just then badly hated her black father.”
    Melanctha’s and Jeffs relationship is unhealthy to say the least. They’re very hot and cold throughout the story. They definitely love each other, and at some moments cannot stand to be in each others presence. “It was a struggle that was as sure always to be going on between them, as their minds and hearts always were to have different ways of working” (Stein, p. 393) Stein uses language and dialogue to describe the levels of intelligence as well as the two personalities.

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    1. I agree that the relationship is unhealthy, but I feel as if they don’t love each other like a normal couple loves each other. She admits that it is only due to the “hot passion”. I feel as if here is some sort of love there , since they can’t leave each other alone. I don’t think that it is a love that will ever keep them together.

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    2. I agree with your analysis on Melanctha and Jeff’s relationship. It was definitely turbulent but Melanctha harvested very real feelings for him. “I am very fond of you, Jeff Campbell” speaks a lot about her character in the sense that she was able to express her true emotions to Jeff even though she was unsure if they were able to be reciprocated. Her “wander” spirit always left her alone and unable to really develop a deeper connection with anyone including men, and Jeff sees himself almost as unable to handle a woman like her.

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  7. 1. A example for a free indirect discourse in “Melanctha” is “She was very much attracted by Melanctha, and Melanctha was very proud that this Jane would let her know her. Jane Harden was not afraid to understand” (65). This shows that there was some type of intimate relationship between Jane and Melanctha. Jane was the one that taught Melanctha her ways, her world, and wisdom. The third narrator gives you an insight of what is going on between Jane and Melanctha, and a possible homo sexuality between the both. I began to question if Jane was the reason why Melanctha began to wonder and why people knew too much of Melanctha wondering than of Jane. There is a repetition of “she wandered,” Melanctha had a reputation of searching for wisdom, but doesn’t seem to know what she wants and she always watches men working.

    2. The relationship between Melanctha and Jeff is very complicated and very difficult to understand at first. In the beginning, the third narrator notes that Jeff was not interested in Melanctha because he knew too much of her by Jane, even though he had never met her. “What right had that Melanctha Herbert who owed everything to her, Jane Harden, what right had a girl like that go away to other men and leave her, but Melanctha Herbert never had any sense of how to act to anybody (70).” This gives you a perspective what the narrator is telling you that Jeff heard so much about Melanctha “wandered” that makes you have think that he doesn’t like her. When Jeff meets Melanctha, he doesn’t think to highly of her and there are some parts of the story there are not in the same page. However,Jeff perspective seems to change, learns to think less and feel more deeply by Melanctha. “He did enjoy the way Melanctha said these things to him. He began to feel very strongly about it that perhaps Melanctha really had a good mind (76).” The narrator gives a sense of feeling that Jeff has chnaged his mind on Melanctha and they have began to like each other.

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    1. I also though there was an intimate relationship between Jane Harden and Melanctha. As you pointed out, the narrator seems to be implying that. I also agree that all the gossip about Melanctha’s wondering influenced the way Jefferson perceived her. This created a rocky start to their relationship which ultimately was unstable.

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    2. I’m glad that you thought there was intimacy with Jan and Melanctha because I thought it was just me! But that’s what I picked up from the narrator as well so I’m glad you pointed it out. Jeff’s perception of Melanctha was definitely influenced by the gossip he had heard like you said, and once he got to know her, he realized he actually had feelings for her. Only if those feelings had been reciprocated!!

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    3. My favorite posts are the one’s that give me new outlooks on the story, it had never occurred to me that Melanctha’s wandering could refer to sexual exploration but now that I’ve read your take on it, I feel so silly for never having even considered the possibility of an intimate relationship between herself and Jane because now that its mentioned I’m not sure I could ever fathom another reason for the intensity of Jane’s hatred

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    4. I agree that the relationship is very complicated. It reminds me of relationships in modern day, many people don’t “like” certain people because of things they’ve heard about them yet once they met them and get to know them, they tend to be able to get along well.

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    5. I think Jeff’s story is tragic in that while he is with Melanctha, he learns to feel and love more, but we do not get to see a payoff. The two end up separating and Melanctha was “wandering” towards the end of their so-called relationship but he had no idea. He was right to be suspicious of her true intentions and doubt her, but other than gut feelings, he could never express to her why. I liked how real their relationship felt, though, with the ups and downs that can typically come with them. As they slowly drifted apart it was sad to see how, although Jeff realized he could learn to love Melanctha, he knew that it was not healthy for him to continue with her.

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  8. 1. One example that I found of free indirect discourse (I think anyways) is of a conversation between Jeff and Melanctha on page 128. The focus of that page is in Jeff’s thoughts, “And always Jeff saw Melenctha tha could not love him the way he needed she do it.” Even in the narrative the dialect seems to change with the person being spoken about, even though it is in the third person. The use of “tha” or “He be like a brother to her always” are examples of this. The storyline switches between what Jeff is thinking and a conversation between him and Melanctha which is what I think is the free indirect discourse.

    2. The relationship between Jeff and Melanctha is simple yet complicated. They both go through character development in correlation to each other but they never quite can stay on the same page when it comes to love. Jeff becomes very lovesick when he develops feelings for Melantha but never fully understands her. Jeff had ambition and was proud to work hard but Melanctha thought differently, “Jefferson Campbell always liked to talk to everybody about the things he worked at and about his thinking about what he could do for the colored people. Melanctha Herbert never thought about these things the way that he did” (page 73). It is emphasized in the same paragraph quite repetitively that Melanctha’s thoughts are different than Jeff’s.

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    1. I agree that the relationship between Jefferson and Melanctha was a complicated one. It seemed that they could never quite decide whether they wanted to be just friends or lovers. As you said they were never on the same page. I like that you pointed out how the two clashed on work ethic.

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    2. I believe that when the narrator is focusing on a particular character the third person words centers around that character in particular as well. When speaking on Jeff it showcases how he feels about those situations and his reactions to those as well as for Melanctha. The way in which the context is written depicts which character is being talked about. They relationship is complicated and they both do find some kind of growth in themselves that they learned from the other.

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    3. Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship was definitely an emotional rollercoaster and it’s crazy that even today people are still in relationships similar to this. Melanctha and Jeff won’t ever be on the same page unfortunately because like you said, it’s clear that both of their thoughts are different.

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    4. Thinking more about it, it seemed like the relationship was perhaps a lost cause at the start. Both characters are quite rigid on how they thought, and nothing really distracted from that. Melanctha would never think like Jeff would, and Jeff would never act like Melanctha would. Eventually one would get tired of one another. I somehow missed out on the work ethic part of it, but I suppose I misread it. It’s definitely a point I didn’t think about.

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  9. 1. My favorite example of free indirect discourse—there are many in this story—is on page 61, fifth paragraph, where Stein describes the railroad yard Melanctha wanders in. There seems to be at least four different perspectives describing the same scene—but I will only mention three. The first is Melanctha: “Railroad yards are a ceaseless fascination” (61), and she likes to “watch the men and the engines and the switches and everything that was busy there” (61) because it keeps her mind busy—just like that last quoted line is busy and reads quickly and mirrors her thoughts while watching these men who move quickly. The second is someone who likes to watch the trains “and all the flutter and excitement that comes as one watches the people come and go” to and from far and distant lands. Here, the lives of the travelling people and the mechanics of the train’s “engine pound and give a long drawn whistle” (61) are the main fascination. The reader is no longer watching the workers with Melanctha. The third and final one is a child who gives the most description about the railroad yard than any of the aforementioned. This child “loves all noise” and the reader is no longer staring at the workers or wondering about the travelling folks at the station; now, the reader is behind a fence sitting above everything else with a hole in it and hears the “silence of the wind that comes before the full rush of the pounding train” (61). Readers see “all the smoke, that sometimes comes in rings, and always puffs with fire and blue color” (61-62) with the child. A simpler image of a train speeding out of a tunnel comes to mind rather than the complex thoughts of busy hands or fluttering hearts. The mirroring of the emotions with the language they are described in also gives the reader an appropriate image for the character focused on in that moment. Each character describes the same railroad yard but, each character sees something different and the language changes according to the mindset and age of the character.
    2. Body language seems to play a big role in Melanctha and Jeff’s understanding of their relationship. Especially when Jeff begins to feel unsure about Melanctha. After Melanctha’s mother died and they began seeing each other more often, doubt began to form in Jeff’s mind. Melanctha discovered his doubt when Jeff “was very late when at last he came to the house where Melanctha was waiting for him” (86) and they sat by the fire, quietly, as she became “very tense with her watching” (86). Here they are at a point where the relationship could end and they are no longer “gentle” with each other as they had been numerous times before. Jeff explains his stiff behavior toward Melanctha and the sentence structure changes when he describes the Melanctha he dislikes versus the Melanctha he enjoys. As he describes the Melanctha he likes, his sentences get longer, more descriptive and “gentler” rather than the nervous, awkward sentences he uses when describing the Melanctha her mother and Jane knows and dislikes. He repeats what he says often when describing what he doesn’t like about her, for example, “something so hard about you it makes me sometimes real nervous, sometimes somehow like you always” were with “Mis’ Herbert” (87). The “s” consonance here gives the reader—and Melanctha—a sense of him saying all this through his clenched teeth like some people do when they are incredibly nervous, bothered, or angry. And all the while, Melanctha remains quiet and begins “trembling and feeling it all to be very bitter” (88), that’s when Jeff realizes how his speech affected her and goes over to comfort her. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to these two.

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    1. I agree that body language is a big part of there relationship. It is how they communicate with each other. I like how you pointed how Jeff’s language changes when he dislikes her compared to when he does like her. I also enjoyed your examples of free indirect discourse, I thought they were really good examples.

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    2. I like your explanation describing the visuals and the realism of the situation, but I think you marginally missed the mark here by leaving out the descriptive third person narrative allowing the reader inside the mind of the character. Stein is representative is a departure from conventional realism and the elements you describe in the first paragraph are very telling of modernism and realism. You are most certainly correct speaking about Jeff and Melanctha because they both are nearly incompetent at expressing themselves and I agree with your claim that actions speak louder than words with these two. They truly do because this couple is reliant on their actions to express themselves.

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      1. I was much more focused on Jeff and Melanctha’s language than their actions, and I think your point is an interesting one. Jeff will often repeat entire paragraphs he spoke earlier, but with minor changes, and these changes coincide with his actions and behavior towards Melanctha. The more Jeff says anything such as “But may be you do really love me”, the distance between them increases (Pg. 123). His ideals of love are different than hers, so when they part, although he is grateful for their time together, and his newfound knowledge, there is the acknowledgement that they are too different to continue together. It is only when Jeff’s thoughts are shown in free indirect discourse that any tangible, coherent understanding occurs. On page 129, Jeff’s thoughts express his friendliness towards Melanctha in the end, and he will never forget her, but there is also the acknowledgement that he needs to be separated from her since the two of them do not mesh well together.

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    3. I agree with your analysis about Jeff and Melanctha in regards to how he speaks to her. It is almost like he sees her in a platonic manner, having a pure and simple love towards her. His need to comfort her and look out for her feelings is an endearing quality that Jeff has towards Melanctha but at the same time they do not always agree and he begins to resent her. Body language did play a role in how he would speak to her and how it was interpreted to the reader. He almost hates that he loves her so much.

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  10. Melanctha uses a plethora of free indirect discourse throughout the short story while mixing in traditional dialogue as well. Free indirect discourse allows the narrator to peer into the mind of the characters in a story, reflecting their perspective and even imitating their speech. It’s often that we peer into the mind of the titular character, Melanctha, and see her conflicting struggle about her conquest for love and finding power in a relationship. When Melanctha initially spoke to Jeff Campbell, we dive into her mind to find out what she feels about Campbell’s personality whom is opposite to hers. They talk mostly on the ideologies of how to live their lives, but specifically talk about wisdom. Stein uses indirect discourse to quickly paraphrase how Campbell feels. “Dr. Campbell said he wanted to work so that he could understand what troubled people, and not to just have excitements…” From this part alone, we can see that Campbell is quite the opposite of Melanctha in terms of how to live their life, as Melanctha “did not feel the same as he did about being good and regular in life, and not having excitements all the time…” Throughout the early part of this story, we see Melanctha do many daring things, to the point where she broke her arm, but she was also intelligent and wise as well. When she listens to Dr. Campbell’s monologue about life, Stein once again uses indirect discourse to peer into her thoughts, showing that “it did not mean much to her, and she was sure that some day he would find out, that it was not all, of real wisdom.” This reinforces Melanctha’s character of wanting to find something, or someone demanding, since she believes she possesses “real wisdom.” Consequently, this would later mold their relationship since they often quarreled with one another until their inevitable break up.

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  11. Gertrude Stein’s Melanchtha is filled with instances of free indirect discourse. Stein uses free indirect discourse to give the reader insight into the character’s feelings without breaking the narrative to include dialogue. For example, “What right had that Melanctha Herbert who owed her everything, Jane Harden, what right had a girl like that to go away to other men and leave her, but Melanctha Hebert never had any sense of how to act to anybody” (70). This bit of narrative, at first, seems clunky and poorly written but when the reader realizes that it is meant to be Jane Harden’s thoughts on her friend then it makes sense. It reads more like the character’s typical speech patter because of the reoccurring phrase “what right”. This also shows that Jane feels that Melanctha owes her for all the wisdom she as imparted on her.
    The narrator very quickly establishes that Jeff Campbell “had no feeling, much, about” Melanchtha (71). Jefferson based his feelings for Melanctha on the gossip of others. Even when they did become closer “he never really knew how much he really knew about Melanctha” (85). The repetition of the phrase “really knew” emphasizes the uncertainty he is feeling about his perspective of Melanctha. One of the first conversations we see between the two characters is the two of them arguing but shortly after they grow to be friends and “saw each other, very often” (79). This is reflective of their relationship throughout the whole story. There are times when they can’t stand each other and there are times when they love each other leading to an unhealthy relationship.

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    1. While I found Stein’s use of free discourse in her narrative very cleaver, I did have a difficulty understanding the content. It took me a few rereads to completely understand what Stein was attempting to portray in her narrative. Did you have the same difficulty?

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  12. 1) Free indirect discourse is a type of 3rd person narration, in which the author typically chooses to flow freely throughout two or more individual consciences. In the case of “Melanctha”, the author clearly establishes a knowingness of how Jeff feels about Melanctha. For example, on line 114, Stein writes: “And yet, perhaps Melanctha really loved him. And then she would know how much it hurt him never any more, any way, to see her, and perhaps she would write a line to tell him. But that was a foolish way for Jeff ever to be thinking. Of course Melanctha never would write a word to him” (114). These lines prove that the narrator is shifting between various perspectives. In these lines, the story is told in Jeff’s perspective when his feelings about Melanctha are revealed: “she would know how much it hurt him”. However, at a different point, the narration returns to omniscience with the words “And yet, perhaps Melanctha really loved him.” The narrator varies between both a passive and active point of view.
    2) Jeff and Melanctha’s true feelings about each other aren’t revealed until the latter part of the story. Nonetheless, when analyzing the language used, the reader can identify how each character feels throughout. One such instance occurs on line 82, when the author states “Perhaps it was not just play, with Melanctha. Anyway he liked it very well that she was with him”. This proves that Jeff is trying to adapt to his feelings, and one can tell from his point of view that he likes to be in Melanctha’s company. On the other hand, Melanctha seems cautious and measured when she is in a vulnerable position with Jeff. When Jeff pleads to get to know the true Melanctha, she responds by not responding. “Melanchta did not make him any answer.” (206). This leads them to understand very little about their relationship, other than how they feel themselves. However, because the narrator frequently uses free indirect discourse, the reader is able to know what the characters don’t.

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  13. “But when Melanctha was alone, and she was so, very often, she would sometimes come very near to making a long step on the road that leads to wisdom. Some man would learn a good deal about her in the talk, never altogether truly, for Melanctha all her life did not know how to tell a story wholly.” (Stein, 63)
    This quote eloquently represents the indirect discourse in Melanctha. In this work Stein, has painstakingly used language as a tool to emphasize the characters. The narrative, along with the sparse dialog in Melanctha, is used to express social class and intellectual capacity of the characters. We see in the above quote that Stein has forgone several grammatical and syntactical expectations to create the voice of the undereducated. She has used the word “wisdom” as sexual enlightenment or discovery. This use expresses Melanctha’s lack of knowledge, as well may be an irony expressed by Stein; the undereducated see sexual discovery as the “wisdom” rather than educational advancement. Also in this passage is another example syntactical veering, “near to making a long…” the usage of “making” rather than “taking” is another example of Stein’s realistic narrative structure. The final line in the passage that reverberates Melanctha’s incapacity to communicate properly is “for Melanctha all her life did not know how to tell as story wholly.” This description exemplifies the poor grasp of language and communication skills that Stein expresses throughout the story.

    The relationship between Jeff Campbell and Melanctha is a very disconnected, yet intimate relationship. It is evident that with Jeff, Melanctha can verbally challenge and express her opinions of him freely. The representation use of language as a characterization tool is very apparent in the interactions between Jeff and Melanctha. Jeff, in particular, represents this aspect as he is a Doctor, yet still his language grasp and communication skills are poor. In the beginning of their relationship Jeff views Melanctha as a “bad girl,” someone he does not expect to see any “good” from. Jayne Walker references Stein’s use of “good and “bad” as a simplified term for moral or immoral. This simplification of terms is just another example of how Stein has used the free third person narrative to develop character perspective.

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    1. I like how you said there relationship is intimate yet disconnected. That was a really good way of describing their relationship. They are close yet so far apart for each other. They are disconnected from each other because they are never quite on the same page. I liked how you summed up their relationship.

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    2. I agree that Stein uses the dialogue to emphasise the character. Steins words paint a picture of the character that is repetitive just enough for the audience to get the picture of the characters personas fully. Their relationship is very disconnected in a way yet the audience is able to see how they may come together if those disconnections can be broken down.

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  14. Steins use of free indirect discourse in “Melanctha” is a way to narrate a character’s thoughts and reflect their point of view. One example is shown on page 71 where Jane Harden tells Jeff Campbell her thoughts on Melanctha, “She didn’t have any use now any more for Melanctha, and if Dr. Campbell saw her he better tell her Jane didn’t want to see her, and she could take her talk to somebody else, who was ready to believe her. And then Jane Harden would drop away and forget Melanctha and all her life before, and then she would begin to drink and so she would cover everything all over.” also “Jane Harden hated people who had good minds and didn’t use them, and Melanctha always had that weakness, and wanting to keep in with people, and never really saying that she wanted to be like her father, and it was so silly of Melanctha to abuse her father, when she was so much like him and she really liked it (Stein 71).” The words, “good mind” is repeated in this paragraph because Jane doesn’t respect those who essentially have healthy, suitable mind frames and don’t do anything with them. However her perspective on Melanctha is a form of irony because Jane is intellectual but she is an alcoholic.

    Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship is a strange and difficult one to understand because he didn’t like her at first even though he wasn’t familiar with her. “Jeff Campbell heard all this very often, but it did not interest him very deeply. He felt no desire to know more of this Melanctha (Stein 71).” This is because of what Jane Harden told him about her. However, later in the story he does get familiar with her and his thoughts change slightly, “I certainly am a very slow-minded quiet kind of fellow though I do say quick things all the time to everybody, and when I certainly do want to mean it what I am saying to you. I can’t say things like that right out to everybody till I know really more for certain all about you, and how I like you, and what I really mean to do better for you (Stein 80).” And finally his feelings are revealed on page 83, “You see Miss Melanctha I am a very quiet, slow minded kind of fellow, and I am never sure I know just exactly what you mean by all that you are always saying to me. But I do like you very much Miss Melanctha and I am very sure you got very good things in you all the time.” However Jeff thoughts on Melanctha have changed, she doesn’t seem interested at first but later on her feelings begin to grow, “And I like you, Jeff Campbell, and you certainly are mother, and father, and brother, and sister, and child and everything, always to me (Stein 85).” Although there is much more to their relationship than these quoted texts, their relationship is good and bad all together. Sometimes they love each other very much and other times they don’t care about one another. I feel at times that they don’t know how to communicate to each other and I think that Stein used this sort of language between them because they are both uneducated individuals.

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    1. I agree that Jeff and Melanctha is difficulty and hard to understand. I believe that they do love each other but it is an unhealthy relationship and will always struggle.

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    2. I agree with your assessment of the story’s point of view. I think it’s important to notice that while the story is told in third person, it seems like there is no set narrative technique, given that the author chose to use free indirect discourse. The author implements a wide array of perspectives in the story. Due to the fact that the narrator moves freely through the minds, thoughts, and feelings of more than one character, it’s safe to say that free indirect discourse is a unique type of narration in itself.

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  15. “Jeff always loved to be with Melanctha and yet he always hated to go to her. Somehow he was always afraid when he was to go to her, and yet he made himself very certain that he would not be a coward. He never felt any of this being afraid, when he was with her” (Stein, 85). This dialogue shows how the character Jeff is torn about his feelings for Melanctha. There are two sides to Jeff’s feelings for Melanctha. Despite his fear he doesn’t want to be a coward so he disregards his fears that he feels with the anticipation of seeing Melanctha. However, when he is with her that fear of the unknown he had before he saw her is no longer there. His feelings he first had about her persona and his feelings, he had about her persona after they connect on a more communicative level about their perspectives of life. He is confused about which person he would actually get on any giving day and the changes she is making.

    The relationship between Jeff and Melanctha is conflictive. “Jeff Campbell loved to think now he was strong again to be quiet, and to live regular, and to do everything the way he wanted it to be right for himself and all colored people” (Stein, 129). Jeff and Melanctha had different ways of thinking how everyone should live their lives. While Jeff wanted to stay in the boundaries of what is perceived to be right Melanctha wanted to live outside of that box. Their relationship was conflictive because although they felt a closeness to each other neither of them felt as though they could be there true self. Jeff kept hinting that he didn’t really know Melanctha and front the way she responded to his ideals at times she didn’t know him. When he finally left her for good the in the free indirect discourse it is expressed that he is strong and can essentially be himself again. Although they had feelings for each other those feelings weren’t strong enough to get over their differences.

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    1. I agree, Melanctha and Jeff’s relationship is complicated in so many ways. They both have different ideas on how to live and I think that is what causes conflict between them. Although they love each other, their relationship is difficult. You are right about how their love was good but not strong enough to get over their differences.

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    2. I agree that the relationship between Melanctha and Jeff is conflictive. Both Jeff and Melanctha did have different opinions on how people should live their lives. Jeff seems prideful. Also, I agree with you that even though they liked each other they could not get over their differences.

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  16. An example of free indirect discourse in “Melanctha” would be when Melanctha is reflecting on the year before she met Jeff. She had met and been with many men but she would leave them because they wouldn’t interest her. She realized that she would not learn anything from the men she had been with and “She wanted someone that could teach her very deeply and now at last she was sure that she had found him, yes she really had it, before she had thought to look if in this man she would find it” (69). Even though this is in third person, it reflects the character’s perspective because the narration slips into the character’s thoughts and feelings.
    Jeff and Melanctha have different opinions about each other when they first meet. When Melanctha first met Jeff “She found him good and strong and gentle and very intellectual” (68). Jeff’s opinion about Melanctha is “he had never liked her very well, and he had never believed that she was any good” (69). The dialogue between Jeff and Melanctha’s first conversation still shows their opposing opinions. An example would be when they are talking about religion. Jeff says “And as for religion, that just ain’t my way of being good” and Melanctha replies by saying “I know good people Dr. Campbell, and you ain’t a bit like men who are good and got religion” (75). Dr. Campbell talks about the good things he does and Melanctha listens to him but she does not reply. When Melanctha does reply, it is to tell him that she doesn’t agree with his way of coming to “real wisdom.”

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    1. Their relationship is a strange one. They love each other than don’t agree with one another. I honestly feel like this is how most relationships are now days. You don’t always agree with your significant other and that can cause conflict among them both. Also when you mentioned how Melanctha doesn’t reply to him and when she does it’s to disagree with his opinion, that is very much true. After they were together she didn’t so as much and when she did it was to criticize his mind set.

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  17. In the reading “Melanctha” the author uses the third person to tell the story. The story has aspects of free indirect discourse which allows the reader to have an insight on the story through the character’s perspective. By using the perspective and speech of the characters the reader can see how characters’ mind works. For me it was hard to understand when it was happening because I had a hard time concentrating.
    The relationship between Jeff and Melanctha was not a healthy one. They go back and forth, they really love each other’s, but it’s not a healthy relationship because it is always a struggle.

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  18. Free indirect discourse allows readers to gain perspective of the character. In this case, it allows us to see things through Melanctha’s eyes and understand how she thinks and feels. Stein uses very simple vocabulary to allow readers to learn the education and status levels of the speakers. The way Melanctha feels about her parents (especially her father) after they reprimand her for hanging around a man, she voices her hatred for him.
    Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship is probably as dysfunctional as it gets. Their relationship is never consistent, constantly going through ups and downs. “It was a struggle that was as sure to always to be going on between them…” (Stein 393) explains that their problems never went away. Their relationship was also very one sided, where Melanctha only loved Jeff in a “hot passion” way, Jeff loved her for so much more. Once Jeff realized that Melanctha could never love him like he loved her, he was heart broken. I think they both hang on to the relationship though because they are afraid to be alone.

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  19. In the middle of “Melanctha”, Jeff contemplates his relationship with Melanctha and the pain it causes him to love her and to be constantly uncertain of her feelings for him. He equates this with an intense kind of suffering, which is described in full: “It isn’t very pleasant to be having all the time, to stand it, but [anybody who knows really how to always suffer is] not so much wiser after all, all the others just because they know how to bear it” (116). Here the narrator has strayed from a direct quotation of Jeff’s thoughts. However, Jeff’s previous musings on the joyous simplicity of his own life and ways are a stark contrast to this state of mind (and thus indicative of the fact that they are his thoughts). Jeff is constantly considering the lives of others, and his own in comparison, and this passage is a reflection of his concerns at this point in his relationship with Melanctha. “The others” that are here referred to are those people that Jeff can only now relate to, due to his previous dispassionate nature, (“those that mostly never feel strong passion”) which has rendered him particularly hurt by Melanctha’s absence from his life (116).

    When Melanctha and Jeff do share their feelings with each other, there is still a lack of clarity between them, as expressed by Jeff in the earlier stages of their relationship, after their profession of attraction to each other, “I certainly do wonder, Miss Melanctha, if we know at all really what each other means by what we are always saying” (80). Certainly this is illustrative of both the beginning and end of their relationship, in which they talk frequently and candidly with each other, (often at the expense of Melanctha’s feelings and Jeff’s pride) but often fail to actually convey their full emotions. Jeff finds Melanctha untrustworthy, while Melanctha finds Jeff’s comments to be hurtful and cruel. Their mutual confusion continues until Melanctha eventually reveals that, while she does love Jeff, she cannot reciprocate his passionate feelings for her.

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  20. “Suffering was not so much after all, thought Jeff Campbell, if even he could feel it so it hurt him. It hurt him bad, just the way he knew he once had hurt Melanctha, and yet he too could have it and not make any kind of a loud holler with it” (pg. 112). This entry exemplifies Stein’s ability to expose the internal mental complexities of the character. Intricacies in the wording such as the usage of the word “it” formulate a construction of the character’s understanding of their surroundings in which their intellect is deduced to compartmentalizing feelings and emotions to a simple bestial level. The way in describing hurting as “so bad” or “loud holler” – which are direct transcriptions of Jeff’s dialect – fleshes out the culture in which the character’s vernacular has been conceived. The simple country speech of his character echoes throughout the accompanying narrative furthering the depth in which we perceive the character. The tactic employed by Stein creates a whole experience of cultural and character awareness.

    The relationship between Jeff and Melanctha can best be described as ill-fated, because the given nature of each character disallows for the two of them to ever exist harmoniously together. Melanctha is a complex character that, as Stein would stay, possesses mystery. This stands in juxtaposition to the outspoken and transparent Jeff. Initially, Jeff is attracted to her. He admires her appearance and demeanor, but soon after a visit to Jane and learning of her heinous moral ways – i.e. “Jane began to tell all about the different men, white ones and blacks, Melanctha never was particular about things like that, Jane Harden said in passing,” (pg. 92) – he becomes disgusted. The casual parlance employed here by Stein is indicative of how carefree and immoral Melanctha is, morally. Ultimately, Jeff understands little about the relationship and how he feels about it. This is an example of when Stein employs free direct discourse, stating (about Jeff) “as if he had not been very strong to stay with Melanctha when he never knew what it was that she really wanted” (pg. 98). This allows the reader to enter the mind of the character from the outside. Thematically, the inability of the characters to articulate their feelings is present here, as it is in the other stories by Stein. Jeff is never able to trust Melanctha the way he needs to in in a relationship because Melanctha never allows herself to be wholly his. Her confusion with her own aspirations and self-identity ultimately never allow her to love herself and, in turn, anyone else.

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    1. I would agree that Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship is ill-fated. I would also say that this is due to the fact that Melanctha is not as honest with Jeff as he’d like her to be and that they ultimately want different things. The unspoken “loud holler” for the “it” (suffering) that Jeff experiences seems to be the biggest difference between them; Jeff wants to live life simply and endure his emotions without imposition on others, while Melanctha must be free in her emotions, damaging though they may be.

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  21. 1. In Melanctha there was several examples of free indirect discourse, such as on page 85 after we see that Jeff and Melanctha have begun spending more time together due to her mothers passing. He gives off the feeling of him being more to himself with his feelings. I got the feeling of him being insecure, and maybe even a little upset at the fact that he was having to feel upset about her mother has passed away. Maybe he was just confused on how he felt towards their friendship, or didn’t know what was going to happen next. Which we all know that the relationship was hectic. Stein wrote, “Jeff always loved now to be with Melanctha and yet he always hated to go to her. Somehow he was always afraid when he was to go to her, and yet he had made himself very certain that here he would not be a coward.” This is in third person, yet we can still get into his head and feelings with how he was being portrayed.

    2. The relationship between Jeff and Melanctha has been a very complicating and complex one. They have the love for one another, yet it seems as if there is always something going on between them. Or they have something that is holding them back, whether it be their own feelings or obstacles in the way. We also have the background of her thinking it is a relationship without the in depth feeling of love towards him, yet we have him loving her. His problem with him loving her is that he can’t find the will to be able to trust her, and her problem is that the relationship itself is only something because she enjoys it due to the “hot passion” of it. The relationship is somewhat toxic to both, yet they just go back for more as if it is a drug that they can’t get enough of. It was complicating, yet very interesting and amusing.

    *I don’t remember the page number for the quote ” hot passion” if you know it please comment it for me. Thank you and sorry for not citing it.

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    1. Jeff’s insecurities in their relationship are a considerable factor that I hadn’t touched upon. I would agree that his biggest concern seems to be that Melanctha (or anyone else) might consider him to be a coward, which in turn causes him to be a bit unsympathetic. Unfortunately, this is coupled with their separate desires in the relationship; Melanctha wants to begin an affair with Jeff for the very reason that he is sensitive and thoughtful, while Jeff is reluctant to continue their relationship due to the fact that he is never certain of her emotions.

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  22. One such instance of free direct discourse is when Jeff Campbell is alone after he has learned of Melanctha’s previous promiscuous nature from Jane Harden. “As if he, too, did not know very badly what is was to suffer”, is in third person, but told in such a way that it feels Jeff is having this thought himself (Stein, 91). This passage has phrases such as “He knew Melanctha had done many things it was very hard for him to forgive her” and “Perhaps she could teach him to really understand it better” are used to explain his inner thoughts about his new realization (Stein, 91). Jeff has been raised in such a way that Melanctha’s sexual history is at odds with his own idea of “good” and his inner monologue in this passage is his attempt to reconcile his beliefs with his feelings for her. Although this passage is in third person, it feels as though Jeff is having these thoughts, made clearer with the use of the word “perhaps”. Although minor, when the narrator is showing us Jeff’s thoughts, “perhaps” is repeated frequently, one previous occurrence being “Perhaps it was not just play” (Stein, 82). Vocabulary specific to his thoughts are repeated such that, although the passages are written in third person, they read as if Jeff himself is thinking them, and not the narrator.
    Melanctha and Jeff are frequently at odds in their ideals of the relationship. Jeff trusts and respects Melanctha, but there are still times when he uses her history as a reason for his own bad behavior, such as when he threw her from him at the beginning of page 98. As Walker mentioned, both characters use the words “good” and “bad” in such frequency that it is difficult to decipher their true meaning. “You certainly are good to me” and “I ain’t going to be so bad for always” seem genuine at first, but lose their meaning once Jeff continues to be unsure of his true feelings for Melanctha (Stein, 94, 101). Jeff’s understanding of their relationship is uncertain throughout third person as well, with repetition of phrases such as “and he could not make it come clear to himself” used to express his lack of understanding his own feelings (Stein, 106). No matter how many times Melanctha would tell him “Yes, yes I love you” he would have reservations about her true intentions because she withheld her history (Stein 111). Melanctha repeats the word “love” more and more until the word slowly loses meaning, and they inevitably separate.

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  23. (1)There are many examples of free indirect discourse in Melanctha. One example is from page 125, “Rose did not like Melanctha’s old friend Jane Harden when she was her. Jane despised Rose for an ordinary, stupid, sullen black girl. Jane could not see what Melanctha could find in that black girl, to endure her. It made Jane sick to see her. But then Melanctha had good mind, but she certainly never did care much to really use it. Jane Harden now really never cared any more to see Melanctha, though Melanctha still always tried to be good to her. And Rose, she hated that stuck up, mean speaking, nasty, drunk thing, Jane Harden. Rose did not see how Melanctha could bear to ever see her, but Melanctha always was so good to everybody, she never would know how to act to people the way they deserved that she should do it.”

    The passage from Rose’s perspective goes on further still but this part specifically is about her disdain towards Jane Harden, Melanctha’s friend. She does not have very nice words for Jane calling her ordinary, stupid, stuck up, mean speaking, nasty, and drunk thing. Her words have very negative connotations, it is almost as if she is ticking off insults while counting off her fingers. I also felt like Rose was bitter. The language she uses sounds very similar to what someone who feels left out would say. She repeats her confusion on how someone like Melanctha could possibly be kind to someone like Jane, it drives the point home that she is disgusted by Jane.

    (2) Jeff and Melanctha understand that they both come from very different walks of life so a lot of their discourse in on how each should be living their lives. I think what comes across the most through their thoughts is how much they contrast one another.

    “Now Jeff knew very well what it was to love Melanctha. Now Jeff Campbell knew he was really understanding. Now Jeff knew what is was to be good to Melanctha. Now Jeff was good to her always (page 127).”

    “Melanctha was all ready now to find new ways to be in trouble. And yet Melanctha Herbert never wanted not to do right. Always Melanctha Herbert wanted peace and quiet, and always she could only find new ways to get excited (page 129).”

    I think their thoughts also show the contrast of the characters natures. Jeff wants to please Melanctha, but Melanctha wants thrills and excitement. They are very different characters.

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  24. 1. In Gertrude Stein’s “Melanctha” there are several instances of free indirect disclosure being used. For example, when Melanctha is wandering and escaping as she goes on her trips to the railroad yard and the shipping dock, free indirect disclosure is used to better help us understand what goes through Melanctha’s head as she watched the older men in search for wisdom. Stein writes, ” Girls who are brought up with care and watching can always find moments to escape into the world, where they may learn the ways that lead to wisdom. For a girl raised like Melanctha Herbert, such escape was always very simple… Then when the darkness covered everything all over, she would begin to learn to know this man or that” (77). I think this is one example of free indirect disclosure because it basically helps us get an insight of Melanctha’s thoughts as well as see the type of relationship she has with her parents as well as see the independence as well as the feelings of being lost and trying to be found. The narrator describes Melanctha as having this “break neck courage,” but as Stein writes, “It was a strange experience of ignorance and power and desire. Melanctha did not know what it was that she so badly wanted. She was afraid, and yet she did not understand that she really was a coward.” (77) we see a little better Melanctha’s naive, vunerable side being that she was just a little girl looking for a sense of peace in all the wrong places.
    2. When reading about Jeff and Melanctha’s relationship and how they are with eachother, I don’t think either of them truly understands each other or their relationship because their love story goes from liking eachother to not really knowing eachothers true feelings. For example, when Jeff and Melanctha are getting to know eachother, Melanctha realizes she is opposite from Jeff in the way she expresses her feelings, “Melanctha did not feel the same as he did about being good and regular in life…Melanctha always had strong the sense for real experience. Melanctha did not think much of this way of coming to real wisdom.” (160). And, there is another part in which Jeff is talking to Melanctha about how he is confused by her and how loving her is hard because she seems to be two people at once, “Melanctha Herbert”, began Jeff Campbell, “I certainly after all this time I know you, I certainly do know little, real about you. You see, Melanctha, it’s like this way with me”; Jeff was frowning, with his thinking and looking very hard into the fire, “You see it’s just this way, with me now, Melanctha. Sometimes you seem like one kind of a girl to me, and sometimes you are like a girl that is all different to me, and the two kinds of girls is certainly very different to each other…” (203). To me, Jeff and Melanctha literally have a “love-hate” relationship.

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    1. I agree with you on the relationship between Melanctha and Jeff. When they first meet they both have different opinions about each other. They do have opposing opinions. Melanctha doesn’t agree with his coming to real wisdom. Their differences and their confusion of how they feel towards one another makes their relationship difficult.

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