"Tender Buttons" by Gertrude Stein - a fragment analysis

Essay by madalina22University, Bachelor's March 2007

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NOTHING ELEGANT"A charm a single charm is doubtful. If the red is rose and there is a gate surrounding it, if inside is let in and there places change then certainly something is upright. It is earnest." (G.S., TB., pg3)Gertrude Stein is best known for her experimental modernist unique style. The uniqueness lies in the fact that contrary to men writers then, she sought to find beauty and the power of the word in simple sentences, using extended metaphors formed of every day common words.

In Tender Buttons, Stein focuses on her experimental style , trying new ways of eliminating grammar and syntax and using words without their meaning, in a circular , encrypted poetry. She explores Objects, Food and Rooms; in short, her every day life and love that she shared with her companion.

Stein says she writes for herself and for strangers, that is she writes for anyone who wants to listen but she will not be influenced by critics.

Her work meets both modernist and postmodernist traits.

Her main concern was to describe how we see things. The cubism theory which highly influenced her, stated that people cannot say what they see.. they just say what they were taught to say. That is why painters like Picasso wanted to reproduce a face or a thing from each and every angle one might see it, for a better accuracy , using geometrical shapes. Also Picasso stated that the more the audience was shocked meant that the more people were losing their original perceiving power.

By using imagist means, Gertrude Stein creates the same thing. She forces the reader to reread a poem, free his mind from any traditional or cultural restraints in order to understand the text. By using less grammar and syntax, her poems are...