Sarah Knoth--Phrase

“…the thick or grammatically moody language that West describes can also encompass the signifying logic at work in Stein’s dense Making of Americans, where words are deliberately presented in ‘long strings’ rather than conventional sentences and where the repetition of particular words and clauses produces a latered or ‘simultaneous’ effect. As Stein puts it in ‘Poetry and Grammar,’ ‘Sentences and paragraphs. Sentences are not emotional but paragraphs are…’” (250).

 This passage from Nagi’s essay is what brought me the most clarity to Stein’s essay “As a Wife Has  Cow: A Love Story.” Nagi, here, makes the argument that Stein forgets the conventional and embraces the ambiguously abstract. Stein takes these “long strings” of ideas of words and phrases to create an overall meaning instead of an instant meaning through one or two different words. It seems as though Stein embraces overall satisfaction rather than immediate satisfaction. In other words, Stein is more interested in the emotion created after the reader finishes a piece instead of the process it takes to get there---hence the importance of the paragraph over the sentence. This really made a lot of sense to me---it’s the overall affect of the song rather than the specific lyrics—is sort of what I took from it.   I also think Stein begs the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. The whole “what” idea that Nagi/Stein talk about says that the repetition of words might pose questions---“’What is a sentence.  A sentence is something that is or is not followed….Now the whole question of questions are not answer is very interesting’” (252). It’s like Stein is saying that sentences are questions, questions that a paragraph might answer, but sense paragraphs are made of questions then there really is never any answer? I tried my best decoding this cryptic work, but I think Stein and Nagi have some very compelling thoughts. 

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