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Gertrude Stein: Compare and Contrast

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Language Arts And English +3 Age Levels High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary

This collection has students compare and contrast two artistic representations of American writer Gertrude Stein, a sculpture and a lithograph/collage.  Included for the teacher is the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading Portraiture Guide for Educators" from which the questions here were adapted.

Resources providing background information for students include a video about the importance of body position and an article revealing philosophical influences on Stein.

Use strategies suggested in the Guide, or the following questions, after students have read and reviewed the provided resources:

1. Look at the first image (titled "Gertrude") and the second image (titled "Daibutsu Great Buddha") in this collection and write down observations.

2. How are "Gertrude" and "Daibutsu Great Buddha" similar and different?

3. Watch the video and take note of the ways how the statue (titled "Gertrude Stein") represents Gertrude Stein. In what ways are "Gertrude Stein" similar and different to "Gertrude"? 

4. In the article "A Sort of Modern Buddha: The Influence of of Yogic Philosophies on Gertrude Stein's Method of Writing" Marcie Bianco suggests in the second paragraph starting with, "What these philosopher's show..." that a statue of Stein was necessary to capture her character and personality. How do the ideas in this paragraph reflect how Stein is depicted in the "Gertrude"? 

5. In the article paragraph eleven starting with "What these philosophers show..." the writer suggests how Gertrude Stein wrote poetry utilizing a mind-body connection. How does this idea connect to how she is depicted in "Gertrude"?

6. After completing these steps, type in "Gertrude Stein" in the Learning Lab search engine and look at other portraits of her. How is she represented in other portraits? 

7. How are the portraits alike and different? Compare these portraits with "Gertrude," "Gertrude Stein," and "Daibutsu Great Buddha". 

Tags: Gertrude Stein; poetry; American novelist; literature; Buddha; sculpture; visual art; portrait; analysis