The plot of Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round revolves around Rose: a 9-and-a-half-year-old girl who tries to reconcile her sense of self with the world. The toys of Tender Buttons become performative iterations of her irreverently playful perception, enjoining readers to play not merely within reason, but with it. In a Steinian move of beginning again, the author now turn to Tender Buttons, the masterpiece of the innovative period in which Stein took the rose motif as a motto. Like Roland Barthes's ideal toy, Gertrude Stein's "prose poem" refuses both of those categories, just as, by shunning the proper names of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it refuses to represent the ritual to which it supposedly refers. It even shirks its chapter heading within Tender Buttons: "Objects." Tender Buttons conceives of such empirical language as "ancient"— customary— and thus contrary to the modernity of Stein's toys.