Tender Buttons

In More Ways Than One

As with many poems, an initial read-through of Gertrude Stein's Preciosilla may leave many readers bewildered as to what her intent or message may be. From a technical perspective, it is difficult to make sense of the language because the entire poem consists of unrelated words that are constantly juxtaposed, and Stein does not adhere to traditional grammatical rules in her text. It is this distinct, albeit seemingly obscure writing style, however, that allows for the true meaning of the poem to come through. Preciosilla, though not easily deciphered at the start, is about sexuality in all its intricate glory. To truly explain this, Stein focuses less on content and more on linguistic form in order to construct sexuality as a multifaceted concept.

The Cubist influence

Stein, influenced by the Cubist movement that occurred during the time of her writings, applies this style of art to Preciosilla by emphasizing the structure of sexuality, rather than merely a description of it. Cubist painters created a distinguishing form of art by attempting to express objects and ideas from multiple points of view all at the same time. In the same way, Stein depicts sexuality from various perspectives. At one place in the poem, she says...

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