Friday, February 1, 2013

Chess is a game of logic

To continue our class discussion today, I thought another reason that Elliot named the second section of his Waste Land "A Game of Chess."  Chess is a game of logic.  Modernists like Elliot focused on logic and stressed getting away from nature and spiritual stuff in Romanticism.  Naming a section after chess really helps to show TS Elliot's intentions of making his poem no nonsense and to the point like modernists strived for.  Like we said earlier, "A Game of Chess" was also the name of a play in the 1600s.  Modernists used classic literature in their work because of the reason and logic that they got out of it.  Chess in many ways stands as a symbol for reason and logic.  It is a game that requires skill and strategy to succeed in which makes it perfect for T.S. Elliot to use in Waste Land.

5 comments:

Madeline Davis said...

Although chess is a game of skill and logic, I would disagree with The Wasteland being no nonsense and to the point. Eliot throws around several allusions from completely different times and places and bounces from one idea to the next without any warning or logical transition. I feel that the core of what Eliot wrote about and the point about post-WWI society he was trying to make was clear, but he had a very roundabout way of expressing it.
As for chess requiring strategy and skill, I completely agree with you that that aspect of the game serves as an appropriate metaphor for The Wasteland. Although the allusions may be ambiguous at times, they were strategically chosen with skill.

Laura N said...
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Laura N said...

This discussion made me wonder why part 2 is named “a Game of chess.” Here’s my interpretation: I think both ladies (I’m assuming they are 2 but they might be the same person idk) the aristocrat and Lil, the woman at the bar, are waiting to meet someone. The aristocrat impatiently waits with another person who does not seem to fully communicate/connect with the aristocrat. Lil is receiving advice from a bartender on how to interact with her husband Albert. She’s toothless and aborted her baby, George(?). Her elective abortion might symbolize the debasement and baroness of the wasteland/ 20th century Europe. The bartender asks basically: why get married if you don’t want children? Perhaps the answer is to latch onto something in order to connect with it. Maybe, to Eliot, choosing not to have children undermines that relationship and connection… These 2 scenarios of missed connection may relate to chess because in a stale mate, no one moves forward and no one wins. Perhaps these women’s missed opportunities for connection represent the lose- lose situation for themselves and the other party involved?

Grant Reggio said...

Perhaps there was an intention to conflict logic with the nonsensical pattern in the overall poem, namely in my opinion, to only fortify its seeming irrationality. To explain, consider the fact that whenever one uses logic to combat something illogical or something that they don't understand, rather comprehend, for that matter, he or she seems to be left still confused or with even more questions. It only amplifies an effect of disorientation, something which we can all relate to the concept of a spiritual wasteland, in that it is the epitome of emotional and psychological disconnection and disorientation.

Ben Bonner said...

I agree with Madeline. I wouldn't say though that Eliot and the other Modernists were absorbed with logic. The modernists were writing against the backdrop of the burgeoning of the study of psychology. I don't know that much about psychology, but it seems as though many theories, particularly Freud's, seem to attempt to explain why people act irrationally. The developments in psychology made at this time as well the events of the early 20th century, namely WWI, seem to point more to human irrationality than to logical action. I think Eliot is trying to capture some of these behaviors in his poem.