“I know I am” (Burnett 51). This response form Gertrude Stein was given in answer to the question “You think you are a genius?” posed to her by the French artist Henri Matisse. This was the epitome of Stein.
Born in 1876, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Gertrude was the fifth child, and youngest, to Daniel and Amelia Stein, German-Jewish immigrants. She was a bright girl, but was noted for “her lifelong indifference to rules” (Gombar 41), especially in school. The early death of her mother was the cause of this. Her father was the king of his castle, often acting as a tyrant, and Stein “credited her lifelong aversion to all authorities and father figures” (Gombar 41) to him.
Gertrude always had a close relationship to her older brother, Leo. They were fast friends throughout their childhood, and into their adulthood. Though she had completed few years of high school, and did not meet the requirements in...