T S Eliots The Wasteland English Literature Essay

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“Cultural modernism is an experience in which all that is solid melts into air and therefore suggests change, uncertainty and risk” (Barker 190). Eliot’s, The Wasteland is a perfect example of a modernistic writing because there is hardly any solid flow throughout the poem. The whole of the poem is fragmented reflecting the modernism movement Eliot was in, where linear structures where discarded to create a flow less peace of work. ” a jettisoning of linear narrative structures in favour of montage” ( Barker 193). Parts of the poem ‘ The Burial of the Dead’, ‘A Game of Chess’, ‘The Fire Sermon’,’Death by Water and ‘ What the Thunder Said’ have no connection in their events. In addition, inThe Wasteland, all of the characters in the poem are scattered throughout to intensify the feeling of lost for the readers. Some of the characters are, Tiresias, Phoenician sailor, one eyed merchant, Madame Sosostris and many more. For example, ” Is your card drowned Phoenician Sailor” (Eliot 64) and ” Phlebas the Phoenician , a fortnight dead” ( Eliot 75).Furthermore, each character have their own story to tell and these events are not connected at all like ” A heap of broken images” ( Eliot 63).

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” In Essence The Wasteland says something which is not new that life has become barren and sterile that man is withering, impotent and without assurance” (Seldes 40). Next the society depicted in The Wasteland are isolated and lost . For example, even though the woman in the first part of ‘A Game of Chess’ is wealthy and was compared to Cleopatra by Eliot, yet she was depicted as being all alone with all the riches she owned. “Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door” (Eliot 68). In ‘The Fire Sermon’ the typist during teatime was also pictured as being alone”Paces about her room again,alone”(Eliot 71) . Even though the typist was visited by her lover, in the end she still feels alone and “she is bored and tired” (Eliot 72). Through these examples, we can understand that “The Wasteland seems to be a chiefly important social document” ( Lewis 58) that depicts the sociocultural context after war. Hence it is clear that the poem gives an authentic impression of the mentality of people from all sorts of background in the psychological decline that took place immediately after war which is then integral to the overall meaning of the poem. ” Modern institutions are based on the principle of doubt, All knowledge is formed as an hypothesis open to revision” ( Barker 190).

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(And her only thirty-one.) I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face, . It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said. (She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George”( Eliot 68). Hence it is clear that the sociocultural context of The Wasteland is divided into high and low culture but, the classes feel the negative effect of modernity and World War One which have mad their lives miserable and lost the sense of direction. “the easiest contrast in ‘ A Game of Chess’- and one which may easily blind the casual reader to a continued emphasis on the contrast between the two kinds of life, or the kinds of death, already commented on -is the contrast between the life in a rich and magnificent setting, and life in the low an vulgar setting of the London pub. But both scenes however antithetical they may appear superficially , are the scenes taken from the contemporary wasteland. In both of them life has lost it’s meaning” (Cox and Hinchcliffe 137).

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