Tag Archives: Jeff

Changing Moments in Melanctha

“Jeff learned every day now, more and more, how much it was that he could really suffer. Sometimes it hurt so in him, when he was alone, it would force some slow tears from him, he lost his feelings of deep awe that he once always had for Melanctha’s feeling. Suffering was not so much after all, thought Jeff Campbell, if even he could feel it so it hurt him. It hurt him so bad that he knew he once had hurt Melanctha, and yet he too could have it and  not make any loud kind of a loud holler with it.”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. Dover Publications, New York. 1994. p 110. Print.

This quote echoes the repetition throughout the text in a way that shows a structure of changing moments of feeling for Jeff. The quote proceeds by explaining the same concept throughout three different sentences. The concept being repeated pertains to the moments of “hurt” and “suffering” Jeff feels throughout the quote. For instance, in one moment, Jeff feels the extent to which he can handle suffering, and in the next moment, he feels effects of his hurting to the point of physical manifestation, otherwise tears. Then Jeff Campbell’s “suffering” turns empathetic where he feels empathetic for Melanctha’s hurting.

Free Indirect Discourse

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).

Free indirect discourse is used in this passage when the narrator channels Jefferson’s thought process and says, “and perhaps she would write a line to tell him.” This line expresses Jefferson’s hope that Melanctha would write him back. The narrative voice then switches back to the omnicent narrator when he/she states, “But that was a foolish way for Jefff ever to be thinking.”