Friday, February 3, 2017

A multitude of allusions

In The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot fills nearly every line with some sort of allusion or another. This makes it very confusing for people of this time period unless we utilize the footnotes. During the actual time that this was written, I believe that readers could more easily understand many of these illusions, but not all of them. Eliot Alludes to works ranging from the Bible to Baudelaire, Dante, Ovid, and Virgil. Not only does he refer to these writers, but Eliot also alludes to specific events that have happened throughout history, such as the battle between the Romans and the Carthiginians. I believe that Eliot makes use of past works and events in order to try to approach and solve the problems of the world during his time, such as war.

5 comments:

Dylan Bryan said...

The Waste Land is covered with allusions, it seems like there is a footnote on every other line. Joseph makes a good point by saying that at the time it was written, more people probably understood the allusions; however, it covers so many different pieces of work and historical events that not everyone most likely understood all of the allusions. Eliot's broad range of allusions could be beneficial in that most readers can at least recognize a few. The allusions are a good tool in that readers can relate events of the poem to these events of past works and relate those to modern times. The Waste Land was made to open up the eyes of the people of modernist times to the world around them. Eliot must have done extensive research to include all the allusions that he did, but they serve a purpose in causing the reader to realize what is going on in the world around them.

Rickeia Coleman said...

In depth research and thinking is required to even begin to comprehend The Wasteland. Eliot obviously placed value on all these different pieces since he included a multitude of them which each bring their own piece that contributes to the overall story. He seems heavily interested in prophetic events which is seen by his use of the Sybil of Cumae and his numerous allusions to tarot cards and the Bible. The Wasteland is a story broken into fragments that the reader must uncover.

Savannah Watermeier said...

I complete agree with Joseph, Although I do think the poem would've been diffult to understand even back then. Eliot makes references to places like Hell and Mylae. I think he does this to reflect the war of the times. World War I brought destruction like never before, and people became disillusioned with the world, thinking of it as Hell.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think a lot of what Eliot meant to do was appeal to people who were more educated than others. Even if his allusions were more recent at the time, the average person was not well versed in most of the authors that he references. You really need a full grasp of broad works of literature to fully appreciate Eliot's writing.

Bailey Taylor said...

People had to be educated to understand these allusions, but it also made people think and learn. All the allusions made people really have to think and really need to be educated to understand the poem. It is not a straightforward poem that anyone could easily interpret. I think this is another shift that happened during the modernism movement.