Word: Stupefaction

There is an unconventional way in which certain writers such as Gertrude Stein choose to construct sentences, paragraphs, and even stories. Taking As a Wife Has a Cow: A Love Story for example: “Do they as they do so. And do they do so” (Stein 544). There is an initial surprise to the reading before a relationship to narrative can be made. In her essay, Ngai compares the shock of coincidence in a Poe tale to the shock of reading Stein, “The mind struggles to establish a connection–a sequence of cause and effect-and, being unable to do so, suffers a species of temporary paralysis.” This paralysis is also known in the essay as stupefaction. The reader becomes so overwhelmed with insensibility that a moment of inactivity occurs.

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