Tag Archives: repetition

He Could Not Help It, for this is who he is.

“Because I said will I or wont I when the sack was half full because I said if the sack is full when we get to the woods it wont be me. I said if it dont mean for me to do it the sack will not be full and I will turn up the next row but if the sack is full, I cannot help it. It will be that I had to do it all the time and I cannot help it. And we picked on toward the secret shade and our eyes would drown together touching on his hands and I didn’t say anything. I said “What are you doing?” and he said “I am picking into your sack.” And so it was full when we came to the end of the row and I could not help it. And so it was because I could not help it.” (23 – 24)

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.

Faulkner uses a very familiar form of repetition that we have been seeing in works by Stein, but in this case, the perspective is first person and causes this tool to be used very differently. Dewey Dell repeats over and over that he “could not help it” when talking about the condition of the sack being full. In doing so, it comes off as committing it into understanding or taking into perception an idea that may or may not be true. Once again, we see a stream of consciousness and while the stream was outwardly present in Mrs. Dalloway, Dewey Dell, like the rest, have a stream that is entirely inward. Dewey Dell is not talking to anyone but himself and is doing his very best to comprehend the situation in a way that he could. He goes from claiming that the full sack could not be helped and then reverts that claim by stating that the sack is full because he could not help it. This could possibly lead to an understanding on what he can or cannot control, or understand, and how it affects his daily life in the simplest of ways.

Repetition In Faulkner

“When they get it finished they are going to put her in it and then for a long time I couldn’t say it. I saw the dark stand up and go whirling away and I said ‘Are you going to nail her up in it, Cash? Cash? Cash?’ I got shut up in the crib the new door it was too heavy for me it went shut I couldn’t breathe because the rat was breathing up all the air. I said ‘Are you going to nail it shut, Cash? Nail it? Nail it?’” (Faulkner 65)

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.

Faulkner uses repetition throughout the novel through many contexts. He first used repetition to emphasize the noise of the axe in the first chapter by stating, “Chuck, chuck, chuck” (Faulkner 5). However, in the above passage the use of repetition is present in the character’s personality through her impatient tone. Instead of pausing in the sentence continues on with a tone of implied haste as the character keeps emphasizing certain words.

Chapter V

“They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard.”

Hemingway, Ernest. “Chapter V.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 51. Print.

 

The repetition of “courtyard” is jarring, which makes the reader  pause and draws them into the scene before the main event transpires.

 

 

 

Whose Body…Sayers

“Thipps asked again to explain, stammers worse an’ says he walked about for a few hours-met a friend-can’t say who-didn’t meet a friend-can’t say what he did with his time-can’t explain why he didn’t go back for his bag-can’t say what time he did get in-can’t explain how he got a bruise on his forehead. In fact, can’t explain himself at all” (27).

Sayers, Dorothy L. “Whose Body?”. 1923. Reprint. New York: Dover, 2009.

Sayers uses repetition within this passage specifically using the word can’t, the word did is italicized which is interesting, along with rhythm diction since we see the dashes after every phrase, which gives the readers an auditory sense of someone stammering about the jumble thoughts within their mind.

Wandering: an Interpersonal Experience

“They were very happy all that day in their wandering. They had taken things along to eat together. They sat in the bright fields and they were happy, they wandered in the woods and they were happy.”

Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives. N.p.: Bedford Cultural Edition, n.d. Print.

Stein’s choice to not use the characters full names, as she does in most of the book, but pronouns instead adds to the mystique of this theme of wandering and interpersonal experience.

Melanctha

“You certainly never can learn no way Melanctha ever with all I certainly been telling to you, ever since I know you good, that it ain’t never no way like you do always is the right way you be acting ever and talking, the way I certainly always have seen you do so Melanctha always. I certainly am right Melanctha about them ways you have to do it, and I knows it; but you certainly never can noways learn to act right Melanctha, I certainly do know that, I certainly do my best Melanctha to help you with it only you certainly never do act right Melanctha, not to nobody ever, I can see it. You never act right by me Melanctha no more than by everybody” (227 online version).

This is part of Rose’s monologue to Melanctha. This passage is one that I believe to be representative of the general style of the book. It has the almost annoying repetition that is constant throughout the book and the sentences are choppy with the over use of commas. Although the word choice is quite simple, the sentence structure is more complicated and the commas create somewhat of a chanting feeling. This passage displays the style of the rest of the book in relation to structure and diction.

 

 

Consistency of Character

“Melanctha Herbert was always seeking rest and quiet, and always she could only find new ways to be in trouble.”

“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. ”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. Dover Publications, New York. 1994. pp 50, 123. Print.

These two quotes come from opposite ends of the story perhaps to emphasize the direct point that Melanctha always wants peace and quiet but is always running into trouble and excitement. However, there seems to be greater meaning to certain passages that tend to get repeated, such as this one, when they appear later on within the story after the reader has learned more of the character of Melanctha. As the character grows and develops throughout the story; as more about her is revealed to the reader, more can be ascertained to be true within that repeated statement. Even with the narration that seems to have a staggering timeline suggests that when this statement is made in the beginning, not much is known beyond the face value of the statement itself despite it describing Melanctha after the fact of most of the events to be told later in the story. However, when the statement is reiterated again later, with some alterations, it is evident Stein is attempting to portray the same character, only under a different light from realizing more information from the telling of Melanctha’s life.

Stein’s use of repetition

“Melanchtha had not loved her father and her mother and they had found it very troublesome to have her.”

“The young Melanctha did not love her father and her mother, and she had a break neck courage, and a tongue that could be very nasty. Then, too, Melanctha went to school and was very quick in all the learning, and she knew very well how to use this knowledge to annoy her parents who knew nothing, Melanctha Herbert had always had a break neck courage.”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. 50-51. Print.

These two passages are very similar, and as I read through Melanctha, it was very easy to notice the repetitive style that Stein uses. I wondered, and still wonder why repeating the same information to reader was important. I think that a reason Stein repeats things so often is to make sure the reader is paying attention. If you missed it the first time, you will get the same information again. Repetition is used for emphasis, so maybe Stein wanted to stress certain details that the reader should not forget. These lines tell us more about Melanctha and how she feels about her parents, and also gives us insight into the kind of person she is.