Arise, a rose
A rambling (rose) look at Gertrude Stein, Part Four
At last, we come to the famous sentence:
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
It appears in 1913's Sacred Emily, but to unlock its meaning we turn to Gertrude Stein's 1914 collection, Tender Buttons. This fascinating book of prose poems provides a day to understanding Stein (and, quite possibly, the Talking Heads).
This collection has three sections: Objects, Food, Rooms.
Words become boxes, says William Gass in his essay on Stein, The Geography of the Sentence.
If we are to understand writing, we must unwrap these boxes of meaning. The repetition of Stein's writing aims to force us to examine words, not once, but many times.
In that way, we can also find the "roots" of meanings.
In Objects, we have this "Box."
Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle.
Gass explains that "kindness" can lead to the red of a blush, and later even shame and embarrassment.
If we "research," we "recircle," in a way. "Kind" means a "nature," and becomes a "state" when we add "-ness."
Her words refer to themselves in this way, making us aware that the author is watching us, hoping we'll catch on.