Melanctha Discussion Questions

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Rose Johnson figures very prominently at the beginning of the story and at the end, although she is largely absent from the center. Looking at where she appears and how the narrator describes her, can you suggest some reasons why Stein might have used her to frame the story in this way?

Ask your librarian to help you find some sources about images of African Americans in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American popular culture (one good source, if it is available, is a film called Ethnic Notions by director Marlon Riggs). Compare what you find there with Stein's descriptions in "Melanctha." Can you see ways in which she may have been influenced by the images around her?

Although the story is named for Melanctha, Jeff Campbell's thoughts and feelings become dominant in the story's center, so that he is also a protagonist. If you had to decide...

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This section contains 375 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Melanctha Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Melanctha from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.