A Long Dress
Gertrude Stein’s “A Long Dress,” from the “Objects” section of Tender Buttons. While reading any sort of poem written by Stein, I always finish confused and frustrated. While this selection from Tender Buttons does not make any more sense, there is one aspect of this particular poem that I am able to recognize–word play. It’s the kind of word play that makes you chuckle to yourself, as, compared to her other works, Stein usually does not use this kind of mechanism. There are two instances where she uses word play–one about “current” and one about “A line.” The poem starts with Stein asking “what is the current that…” in one clause after the other, until the actual sentence ends. She responds with “What is the wind,” connecting that wind can have current. The poem then ends with what “A line…” does. In this case, it is not what the line does, but rather what it connects to–the long dress. The final line, “A line just distinguishes it,” could be talking about two things: one being the hem of the dress written, or of the type of dress it is being distinguished as–an A-line dress. Although this is clever writing that I was able to grasp on a bit easier, it still leaves us questioning what the true meaning of this piece is, if there even is one.