Movement and Space within “Portraits and Repetition,” by Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Steins’ “Portraits and Repetitions,” facilitates the paradigm of linguistic displacement between subject and listener delineated by the dynamic and effectual relationship of the interrelated, rhythmic patterns characterized by the idea of movement as existence. This conviction denotes the essence of mobility portrayed throughout the text, the individual and collectives while commissioning itself through geographical space and chronological time.
Movement is a uniquely “American” quality; it is the “existence of life.” It is the intangible rhythm of behaviors, traits and qualities revealed by the individual that creates a personal involvement between…show more content…
The “solution [,] funnily enough was the cinema. By a continuously moving picture of any one there is no memory of any other thing and there is that thing existing, it is in a way if you like one portrait of anything not a number of them.” The collective movement from the shutters of the camera defines the “continuous succession of the statement of what that person was until [Stein] had not many things but one thing”: the material progression between text and identities achieved through uninterrupted rhythmic constructions (294). While being able to consecutively merge the portraits identities and variances, representation and reality also came together to assist in the textual unfolding of the portrait, specifically, the immediate unmasking of the language attributable to the illustrated relationship. Writing history within portraiture is thus, a gradual construction over space and time.
Portraiture is the arrangement of the qualities of movement, the geography of the insistence of seeing, talking and listening. Stein is able to write portraiture successfully because “she created a melody of words that filled [her] with a melody that gradually made [her] do portraits easily by feeling the melody of any one,” all the while staying focused on “the essence of the thing contained within itself (308). The “shutters” on the camera parallel to the insistence of word choice and order. She is continuously moving