Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Wasteland


I figure eventually we will need to start blogging on this subject, so I suppose I will create the blog! What do you guys think about Eliot's Wasteland?

23 comments:

Ehren said...

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but to me it seems like he's making lots of intense literary references just to prove that he is smarter than you and kind of flaunt his abilities. He seems kinda pretentious.
I do love the use of different languages though, even though it makes me feel like i am falling into his trap designed to create reverence for himself.

Caroline said...

From what we read in class, all the references make it very tedious to read which I don't necissarily enjoy, but maybe as we continue reading I'll like it better.

jp said...

I don't really like this intentionally difficult-to-read writing style. And I am listening to Michelle jump up and down and shout "WASTELAND! WASTELAND! WASTELAND!" right now, which I hate more than anything.

tmichals said...

Haha. I think it's interesting how everything we have read this year builds up to this because of the references. However, like Caroline says, I don't know that I would necessarily catch on to these references unless we read it together in class.

puddlewonderful said...

I love Eliot. Love love love Eliot. No, of course I don't get it. I don't get half the references. I've only barely pierced the surface of the immense depth of "The Wasteland."

First there is the language. Eliot is a linguist, he knows the sounds and the beauty of language, his strings of words are just lovely... He is a master of tone and form and meter and rhyme. His poetry is beautiful, even when it's ugly and depressing, it's beautiful.

Secondly I only wish I could get all the references. He does a brilliant thing-- the meaning of his poetry is half in its references, his message is enhanced by his allusions. Yes, I'll admit it's intellectual snobbery, but could he accomplish the same without it? No! It brings so much more depth to his work... and I have always been prone to that, you know, worshiping at the pagan altar of intellectualism. I do admire him; I admire him tremendously, if I would dare to dream I would dream, ambitiously, of approaching such stylistic and thoughtful genius...

And then John would hate my work.

And, John, the style itself isn't difficult to read-- it's very straightforward. It's only difficult to decipher. It's a mental exercise, and it's not like it's an unpleasant one-- as I've said, the language is so pretty it's fun to pour over it.

I think my new goal is to, at some point, find myself literate enough to understand "The Wasteland." Y'all probably think that's sad, but oh well.

Also, John, I'm sorry that my enthusiasm bothers you so. I'll try to curb it tomorrow.

jp said...

I have very little faith in you.

jp said...

Also, I think my new goal is to just make fun of Michelle for being all nerdily obsessed with this stuff, in new and more creative ways.

Dean Elazab said...

I agree with Ehren, these references are just to prove that he is well read. Its like saying you listen to some obscure band just to sound like you arent mainstream.

Stephen said...

I like the way that Eliot assumes that the reader will know all of the allusions he makes in the work. It is somewhat pompous, but it is a real challenge to the reader to read through the work and understand everything going on.

tmichals said...

I guess I don't really like the fact that he assumes we know all of the references. If I were not reading this in class, I would not have any idea what he was talking about and it would just make me feel dumb. However, on the other hand, maybe he wanted to deter ignorant (well not ignorant, just not highly educated in everything) people from reading his works.

tmichals said...

And John...be nice to Michelle!

Margaret said...

Eliot's a snob. =/ I don't like snobs, but at least his writing is beautiful. He's obviously incredibly talented, so I think he definitely deserves the respect. I think it's fun and annoying that he references so many other works. Since we don't know all of his references, we're learning them, but since there are so many, it's pretty bothersome at the same time. Also, I find that I don't really like modern writing.

El Paco said...

This poem is ridiculous. It's great, of course, but I usually don't bother with stuff that is this hard to understand - that's why I'm extremely happy I chose not to read Ulysses

Stephen said...

Some of the allusion are a little hard to follow but that makes it interesting. Most poems have to be read multiple times in order to understand the true meaning and this one is no different. The references I think are interesting becaue they involve a lot of what we have already read which is probably why we are reading it at the end of the yeaf.

ndepass said...

i agree with Caroline on this essay being very tedious to read because as we have seen it had about 100,000,000 languages and references in that (exaggeration). It seems as if it was almost like im showing how intelligent he was and that you have to be a scholar to understand it, by yourself.

joel derby said...

Ya, but his tone did not seem condescending o people who could not read it. It didn't seem to me like he was telling you that you were an idiot if you didn't understand, but he only meant it for well-learned people who could understand it. Honest;y. even after going through it sentence by sentence, I don't really know what it was all about. I kinda just got that the modern world sucks.

bballinsupasta said...

it reminds me of a portrait of the artist as a young man in that the same symbolism is repeated over and over again. i agree with joel. he was writing to a certain audience, not the everyman.

Manal said...

His allusions and imagery were very strong and definitely demonstrated his intellect, but it also made his work more enjoyable despite the fact that it made understanding it very difficult.

joel derby said...

I feel that The Wasteland is far too complicated to read for pleasure, but it is a great work if you are looking for something challenging that will make you question certain issues. I loved his incredibly visual word choice and also the use of dichotomies. It was interesting how he would contrast two things to prove a point.

El Paco said...

I was here when we read wasteland in class. I am ready for the essay tomorrow.

Dean Elazab said...

I like how each section is different length, unlike the inferno. While some are long, one is just 8 lines. I think that is a element that shows how different this poem is?

bballinsupasta said...

i like how eliot presents the same idea in many different ways, like the different scenarios between lovers. i found that his varied approach kept me engaged with the poem.

puddlewonderful said...

What is amazing to me about T. S. Eliot is the delicate complexity of his work. He interweaves so many subtle ideas into his beautiful poem so seamlessly; the structure is vast and intricately layered, each phrase means several things at once, each word and line functions on several different planes to create this huge multifaceted gem of a poem, this many-messaged work of literature. It's incredible that he managed to construct it, that he could so fluidly express so many subtle and profound ideas within his poem. We can barely fathom it, and yet here, he created it, wrote it, word by word, this complex and layered tapestry... With Eliot, I am always in awe.