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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Essay | Critical Essay #2

This Study Guide consists of approximately 86 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.
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Critical Essay #2

In the following essay excerpt, Davis explores how Stein treats national identity in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, finding that Stein defines it "by what is lacking - rather than by what is present."

From the first page of The Autobiography, Stein characterizes people in terms of their national identities. Although Alice introduces herself as an American, "I was born in San Francisco, California," she explains that while the quality that best defines her mother is her temperament - "my mother was a quiet charming woman named Emilie" - her father is best defined by his national identity: "my father came of polish patriotic stock." Here, Toklas's father is so thoroughly identified by his nationality that she does not bother to give his name, as she does with her mother. Throughout The Autobiography, national labels often replace names. For example, Alice's descriptions of Stein's Saturday evenings repeatedly...

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This section contains 5,205 words
(approx. 18 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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