Race and Melanctha

“I certainly never do say any more you ain’t always right, Melanctha,” Jeff answered and he was very read now with cheerful laughing, “I certainly never do say that any more, Melanctha, if I know it, but still, really, Melanctha, honest, I think perhaps I wasn’t real bad to you any more than you just needed from me.”

Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives. N.p.: Heritage Illustrated, 2014. Electronic.

This passage is unique in that it shows  consistency in the repetition pattern of the narrator and the character dialogue. Repetition is common throughout “Melanctha” and the simple phrases combined with the repetition give the story a feel of innocence and unsophistication.  When Stein uses this same style of repetition not only in the narration but also in the dialogue, the characters are then given these same characteristics of being child-like and unrefined. It brings about  questions regarding the role of race in Melanctha and whether Stein’s writing is equally as racist as Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?