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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Essay | Critical Essay #1

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Critical Essay #1

Semansky is an instructor of English literature and composition. In this essay, Semansky considers the representation of experience in Stein's book.

Conventionally, the relationship in autobiography between language and experience has been one in which the author uses words to describe events, chronicle change, and mark emotions. This is evident in most fiction and biography as well. Stein's book, however, complicates this relationship, as it is founded on a lie: it is not what it says it is. Stein, of course, confesses as much in the book's last sentences, but her narrative "trick" is more than simply a joke played on unsuspecting readers. Along with the style in which the book is written, the use of a narrator who is not what she seems to be underscores the notion that human experience is, at root, beyond the pale of representation.

Stein has said that her goal in writing...

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This section contains 1,244 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Study Guide
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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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