Saturday, February 2, 2013


T.S. Elliot's "The Waste Land" is hard to understand at times and can even be incoherent given the extensive number of jumps to different topics. I understand that this is suppose to mimic the stream of consciousness style of writing that many modernist used, but I think that it can also represent that chaos theme present in the 20th century during World War I. People were in mass confusion with the amount of warfare present and began to wonder about the source of all the chaos. Elliot's writing style follows a similar chaotic theme in accordance with the prominent feelings of the time. 


Michell D said...

You make an interesting point, his writing was greatly influenced by early 20th century culture, so there is a stong possiblilty that it was intentional. Elliot has many different elements and writing styles throughout The Wasteland, so many that we cannot possibly fathom each allusion he makes. I believe that he didn't carry large themes across the poem, but rather accepts the parallels that people draw as intentional or applicable. Anyway, even if he didn't mean for this to happen, it works so I don't see why it wouldn't be considered a possible analysis.

Laura N said...

Since WWI altered the way almost everyone perceived their “civilized,” “sophisticated,” European society, religion, politics, other people and themselves, this period would have been very confusing and chaotic. The pre-WWI era with servants and domesticated, politically uninvolved women was over and now countries’ populations had to adjust to the social and political changes. Society usually doesn’t adjust to change immediately and without unrest or opposition. The fragmentation, disorienting changes of society could certainly be reflected through Eliot’s disjointed, fragmented ideas.

Grant Reggio said...

The idea of a wasteland seems more or less to be the effects of chaos upon an unprepared world. I'm not trying to get ahead of myself, but I can't but think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Also when reading the poem, I got the sense that he was displaying this wasteland both in terms of a present affliction and also an oncoming doom to come. Some parts of the poem describe a wasteland coming to be rather than already existing there. I see this mainly through some use of ominous diction thrown around here and there. So in the sense of seeing the future, perhaps Elliot saw that WWI created a wasteland, but also laid the foundations for another one. Or perhaps Elliot draws the comparison between present and future to say that we are in fact on the path towards a wasteland, but its too late to turn back. (In a sense the present might as well be the future...) I don't know, I'm just spitballing here.