A Moveable Feast

Gertude Stein Character Analysis

Gertrude Stein is an American writer who lives in Paris with her partner, Alice B. Toklas. Their home, 27 rue de Fleurus, is a hub of creative and intellectual activity, and Stein exerts a strong influence on the artistic and literary expatriate community. Stein serves as a mentor to Hemingway and she coins the phrase “lost generation” to describe men of Hemingway’s age who served in the First World War.

Gertude Stein Quotes in A Moveable Feast

The A Moveable Feast quotes below are all either spoken by Gertude Stein or refer to Gertude Stein. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of A Moveable Feast published in 2010.
Chapter 2 Quotes

The wives, my wife and I felt, were tolerated. But we liked Miss Stein and her friend, although the friend was frightening, and the paintings and the cakes and the eau-de-vie were truly wonderful. They seemed to like us too and treated us as though we were very good, well-mannered and promising children and I felt that they forgave us for being in love and being married––time would fix that––and when my wife invited them to tea, they accepted.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Hadley Hemingway, Gertude Stein, Alice B. Toklas
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

She did not like to hear really bad nor tragic things, but no one does, and having seen them I did not care to talk about them unless she wanted to know how the world was going. She wanted to know the gay part of how the world was going; never the real, never the bad.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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In the three or four years that we were good friends I can not remember Gertrude Stein ever speaking well of any writer who had not written favorably about her work or done something to advance her career except for Ronald Firbank and, later, Scott Fitzgerald. When I first met her she did not speak of Sherwood Anderson as a writer but spoke glowingly of him as a man and of his great, beautiful, warm Italian eyes and of his kindness and his charm. I did not care about his great beautiful warm Italian eyes but I liked some of his short stories very much.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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She was angry at Ezra Pound because he had sat down too quickly on a small, fragile and, doubtless, uncomfortable chair, that it is quite possible he had been given on purpose, and had either cracked or broken it. That finished Ezra at 27 rue de Fleurus. That he was a great poet and a gentle and generous man and could have accommodated himself in a normal-size chair was not considered. The reasons for her dislike of Ezra, skillfully and maliciously put, were invented years later.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein, Ezra Pound
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

"All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation…”

"Really?" I said.
"You are," she insisted. “you have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death. . .”
"'Was the young mechanic drunk?” I asked.
"Of course not."
"Have you ever seen me drunk?”
"No. But your friends are drunk.”
"I've been drunk" I said. “But I don’t come here drunk.”

"Of course not. I didn't say that.”
"The boy's patron was probably drunk by eleven o’clock in the morning." I said. “That’s why he makes such lovely phrases. "
"Don't argue with me, Hemingway,” Miss Stein said. “It does no good at all. You're all a lost generation, exactly as the garage keeper said."

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

When I got home and into the courtyard and upstairs and saw my wife and my son and his car, F. puss, all of them happy and a fire in the fireplace, I said to my wife, “You know, Gertrude is nice, anyway…”
"Of course, Tatie.”
"But she does talk a lot of rot sometimes.”
"I never hear her,” my wife said. “I’m a wife. It’s her friend that talks to me.”

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Hadley Hemingway (speaker), Jack “Bumby” Hemingway, Gertude Stein, Alice B. Toklas
Page Number: 62-3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

Ezra Pound was always a good friend and he was always doing things for people. The studio where he lived with his wife Dorothy on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs was as poor as Gertrude Stein's studio was rich. It had very good light and was heated by a stove and it had paintings by Japanese artists that Ezra knew. They were all noblemen where they came from and wore their hair cut long. Their hair glistened black and swung forward when they bowed and I was very impressed by them but I did not like their paintings. I did not understand them but they did not have any mystery, and when I understood them they meant nothing to me. I was sorry about this but there was nothing I could do about it.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Pound
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

The way it ended with Gertrude Stein was strange enough. We had become very good friends and I had done a number of practical things for her such as getting her long book started as a serial with Ford and helping type the manuscript and reading her proof and we were getting to be better friends than I could ever wish to be. There is not much future in men being friends with great women although it can be pleasant enough before it gets better or worse, and there is usually even less future with truly ambitious women writers.

Related Characters: Ernest Hemingway (speaker), Gertude Stein, Ford Madox Ford
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Gertude Stein Character Timeline in A Moveable Feast

The timeline below shows where the character Gertude Stein appears in A Moveable Feast. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Miss Stein Instructs
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...enough” to put this lesson into words. After the museum, Hemingway goes to see Gertrude Stein at 27 rue de Fleurus. Stein and the “friend” she lives with (Alice B. Toklas)... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Hemingway notes that Stein looks like an Italian peasant woman and that she has “lovely, thick, alive immigrant hair.”... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
Stein also teaches the Hemingways about buying art. She advises them to avoid spending money on... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
When Hemingway first meets Stein, she had published only “three stories that were intelligible to anyone.” However, she has won... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
Stein then moves on to teaching Hemingway about sex. Hemingway admits Stein thinks he is “a... (full context)
Chapter 7: “Une Génération Perdue”
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
Hemingway makes a habit out of going to Gertrude Stein’s house in the afternoons. Stein is “always friendly” and she enjoys discussing “people and places... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Stein goes on to denounce D.H. Lawrence as “impossible… pathetic and preposterous.” She advises Hemingway to... (full context)
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
On one occasion, the ignition of Stein’s Model T Ford is not working, and the mechanic who attempts to fix it does... (full context)
Chapter 8: Hunger Was Good Discipline
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
...to spell Hemingway’s name wrong. He thinks about another story, “Up in Michigan,” which Gertrude Stein called “inaccrochable.” It is now lying in a drawer. (full context)
Chapter 11: Ezra Pound and the Measuring Worm
Creation vs. Critique Theme Icon
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Success, Gossip, and Fame Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
...today,” but Hadley doesn’t want to hear about it just before dinner. A week later, Stein tells Hemingway that she calls Lewis “the Measuring Worm,” because he measures good paintings and... (full context)
Chapter 12: A Strange Enough Ending
Hunger vs. Consumption Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Happiness and Sadness Theme Icon
Hemingway and Stein develop a close friendship, but Hemingway feels that friendships between men and women are ultimately... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Friendship Theme Icon
Hemingway then hears Stein’s voice in the distance, repeating the following words: “Please don’t. Please don’t, pussy.” Hemingway immediately... (full context)