The works explored here can allow a reader trace two separate patterns of thought presented by Modernists about the past. When looked at separately, one trajectory presents the idea that the past is a necessary tool for movement forward, but the other presents the past as something that is a hindrance to progress and needs to be effaced for progress to be possible. Despite seemingly conflicting positions, it is possible to see some common ground.
Although Quicksand and the works of Stein have been looked at through opposing lenses, trying to adopt both viewpoints has the potential to allow for a more complex view. Helga is hindered by both her inability to forget the past and her constant battle to keep herself in the present. This suggests that the real problem Helga faces is an inability to escape the power that the past has over her.
Stein also offers a nuanced perspective when both lenses are considered together. Although her style of writing is born from constant revision of previous iterations, the final outcome is a new meaning that tackles the problems of the past, whether they are larger social obstacles or a simple issue of imprecise wording, by utilizing the past as a tool to do so.
All of the works here, regardless of the lens through which they are being looked at, make clear the importance of the past and remind the reader that the past, although it is over, still has an impact on the present moment.