AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

by Ernest Hemingway

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AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:55 am

Noodlemantras , this is the last question in the first half of our discussion. DITHOT and I are taking a short break, beginning tomorrow, in order to meet up on the Left Coast where we will be sans computer. We will resume our discussion on Monday, November 3. Unfortunately, while we are gone, ONBC will turn 5 years. We will celebrate after the discussion; but if you happen to be awake Halloween night at Two Past Midnight :mort3:, November 1, think of us. We’ll be thinking of you. :grin:
Happy Halloween everybody. :potclogo:

So without further ado, I give you question #17…



Why did Hemingway end his friendship with Ms. Stein?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:19 pm

Have fun on your break! :bounce: I am a bit envious although I know it is not going to be all fun and games.

Well, let's see......maybe her patronage wore out or maybe Hem became bored with her self-indulgence. My first guess, however, is that he had difficulty dealing with her strong personality.

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:38 pm

Thanks for starting us off, Nebraska. You are a brave one! Anybody else?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:22 pm

No takers on this one save nebraska? Awwwww, come on, Noodlemantras!

Happy Halloween in advance, Noodlemantras! :dancingpirate: We'll see you in a few days. :wave:
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby fansmom » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:41 pm

nebraska wrote:My first guess, however, is that he had difficulty dealing with her strong personality.
Yes, she seemed to make up the rules for everyone around her, didn't she.

Have fun, Liz and DITHOT, and have a Happy Halloween!

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Buster » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:06 pm

Two strong personalities, both extremely egotistical (macho, even) and critical - it is amazing they could stay out of competitive conflict as long as they did. Hemingway describes Stein as "nice", but I suspect at that point he meant something more like "she listens to me"; Stein needed an audience. Perhaps at some point she became either directive or patronizing. Neither attitude would have sat well with Hemingway.
Personally, I would have gotten tired of Hemingway's self-centeredness. My impression was that they were using each other, as opposed to being friends.

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Parlez » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:07 pm

Since we have to make this question (and the others) last a loooong time before we get another one :bawl: I thought I'd wait and think about it a bit. But no use, really, since I already know my answer: Stein was an opinionated so-and-so and I would've had a very hard time putting up with her too. I thought Hemingway's descriptions of her were quite charitable actually...he was quite clear about admiring her enthusiasm and magnetic appeal. But under that rather thin veneer lurked a real behemoth who took the lead in every conversation and spoke with unwarrented authority about everything. I liked the last lines of the chapter entitled Miss Stein Instructs (which itself is telling) after Gertie has been 'instructing' Hemingway about all the things he needed to be cured of:
"Then all I had to be cured of, I decided Miss Stein felt, was youth and loving my wife."
Amen!

Have a wonderful time together on the Left Coast, Liz and DitHot!! :disco:
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:16 pm

Parlez wrote:Since we have to make this question (and the others) last a loooong time before we get another one :bawl: I thought I'd wait and think about it a bit.

Mull it over some more if you wish. We'll give this one some time.
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:30 pm

Remember you can come back and answer at any time.

I can see Hem and Gertie as a sort of Clash of the Titans. Both were headstrong and opinionated. Another tip of the iceberg moment where we are to infer what is left unsaid.

Thanks for the bon voyage wishes. I'm off!
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:21 pm

Okay, I just reread the chapter called A Strange Enough Ending and got reminded that Hemingway was pretty clear (albeit puzzled) about precisely when and why his friendship ended with Gertie. For those who don't have the book to review, it's the scene where Hemingway arrives at Gert's house unexpectedly and overhears her crying to someone (supposedly Alice): "Don't pussy. Don't. Don't. Please don't. I'll do anything pussy, but please don't do it. Please don't. Please don't pussy."
He goes on to confess that he can't really explain it, but that was the abrupt end of his high regard for Gertrude Stein. I wonder if it had to do with him stumbling on such a private, intimate scene, in which Gertie was so obviously out of her usual authoritative comfort zone...or was there more to it than that? :eyebrow:
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby gemini » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:23 pm

The opinion I came away with while reading was that Hemingway admired her for her fame and thought she would be influential in his career. She liked him because he seemed to be looking to her for advice and she thrived on the importance of that. When he made a name for himself both positions changed.

Remember, Hemingway never spoke well of any of his competitors whether they were his friends or not. Actually I came away with a less than admiring view of Stein from his own words in AMF. She probably thought of him less like an adoring fan asking for advice in his career and more of someone with a strong personality much like her own. I think she liked people to defer to her.
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:49 pm

Yes, I think in the beginning Hemingway very much deferred to Miss Stein, making himself useful to her by proof reading her manuscript and reading it aloud to her (as she required), and getting it ready for publication. He actually helped her connect with a publisher too, if you believe his side of the story. But I think her personality wore off over time...as perhaps his did for her also. They were both pretty belligerent types, though we see more examples of her belligerence than of his. Maybe he was just beginning to grow into his, whilst hers was already in full display at the time...? The thought I have is that Hemingway learned a lot from his association with Gertie, but none of it was good!
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Buster » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:02 am

Parlez wrote:
Okay, I just reread the chapter called A Strange Enough Ending and got reminded that Hemingway was pretty clear (albeit puzzled) about precisely when and why his friendship ended with Gertie. For those who don't have the book to review, it's the scene where Hemingway arrives at Gert's house unexpectedly and overhears her crying to someone (supposedly Alice): "Don't pussy. Don't. Don't. Please don't. I'll do anything pussy, but please don't do it. Please don't. Please don't pussy."
He goes on to confess that he can't really explain it, but that was the abrupt end of his high regard for Gertrude Stein.


Assuming that prior to this scene Hemingway saw Stein as a powerful, dominant figure, witnessing her abjectly grovelling must have been repellent. It certainly "makes me feel icky", as Mort would say.

Although Hemingway might have tolerated whining in women, I doubt he would have been very accepting of it in his male friends, and I suspect he (consciously or not) held Gertrude to his masculine standard of behavior.

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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Parlez » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:59 am

Good point, Buster! Gertie seemed to work quite hard at being seen as a masculine presence. I can imagine it would be 'icky' to have such a person be revealed as 'feminine'. And I also get the impression, from previous snippets of conversations between Hemingway and Stein, that Ernest was concerned about sexual matters (or that Gertie thought he should be so concerned), ie., the gay thing and his own masculinity. To overhear someone like Stein switch from what could be called one gender-specific behavior to another might have thrown him into a quandary.
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Re: AMF Question #17 ~ Ms. Stein & an Announcement

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:46 pm

Hmmmmm. Interesting possibilities. One of the things I like about these discussions is that they stretch my mind. I tend to have my own opinion about something, and then I read your answers, and I see that there are other possibilities. My initial thought was that he had been naïve about Gertie’s orientation, as she never “came out”, as it were. I had gotten the impression when he was writing about Gertrude’s “instruction”, that he didn’t totally get it (at the time) when she was explaining about women and women. (Either that, or he didn’t want to recognize it.) It was not until he overheard their lover’s quarrel, that it hit him over the head that they were more than just friends. I think that just disgusted him, and he walked out. Like I said, that was my initial reaction. Now I’m not so certain, after reading your answers. I also find it interesting that he never used Alice's name in the book. He refers to her as "the friend who lived with her". I think there are two possibilities as to why he didn't--one is that she was given the status of the woman who entertained the wives, and therefore, didn't have any status and was not worthy of recognition; the other is that by not using her name, he was refusing to recognize that they were lovers because he was homophobic.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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