Everything you need to understand or teach Melanctha by Gertrude Stein.
"Melanctha" opens late in Melanctha's life, as she cares for her friend Rose Johnson during the birth of her baby. After informing us briefly that the baby dies, the narrator uses a number of flashbacks to show the development of the women's relationship and Melanctha's unhappy childhood. One flash-back culminates in a fight between Melanctha and her father, James Herbert, in which it is clear that Melanctha prevails over her father, an encounter that makes her aware of her power. In order to learn more about this capacity, Melanctha begins "wandering," the undefined activity that will characterize most of her life. "Wandering" consists primarily of loitering in the parts of Bridgepoint where she meets men—at first mostly manual laborers. While flirting with the men, Melanctha watches their work, listens to their stories, and observes her own effect on them. Although the story suggests a sexual energy in all of this,... View more of the Melanctha Summary