This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Modernism In T.S. Eliots's The Wasteland

1152 words - 5 pages

Modernism in T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland"

Modernism has been defined as a rejection of traditional 19th-century norms, whereby artists, architects, poets and thinkers either altered or abandoned earlier conventions in an attempt to re-envision a society in flux. In literature this included a progression from objectivist optimism to cynical relativism expressed through fragmented free verse containing complex, and often contradictory, allusions, multiple points of view and other poetic devices that broke from the forms in Victorian and Romantic writing, as can be seen in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" (Levanson).

The varied perspectives or lack of a central, continuous speaker uproots "The Waste Land" from previous forms of poetry; however, it is not simply for the sake of being avant-garde, but to espouse the modernist philosophy, which posits the absence of an Absolute and requires the interpretation of juxtaposed, irreconcilable points of view in order to find meaning. The first stanza illustrates this point. Within the first seven lines, the reader is presented with a "normal" poem that conforms to an ordered rhyme and meter. Suddenly, the German words "Starnbergersee" and "Hofgarten" are introduced, readjusting the reader's own view of the poem, before throwing it completely off-course in line 12: "Bin gar keine...." Just as quickly, though, the lines revert to a previous pattern with the use of "And I...", "And down...", "And when...." "Discontinuity, in other words, is no more firmly established than continuity," writes Michael Levenson (A Genealogy of Modernism). In his analysis of the initial eighteen lines, it becomes apparent that no clear conclusion may be drawn as to who is speaking, or how many speakers are present. There are several methods of unifying the disjointed speaker(s), all of which conflict with each other although they may be equally true. Thus faced with this paradox, the reader is privy to one of the modernist themes in the work: individuals are permanently estranged, each bearing a unique identity, yet they are able to connect with each other to create a kind of coherence, however temporary. Of course, Matthew Arnold wrote something very similar in To Marguerite: Continued, but up until Eliot's The Waste Land, this "truth" was never illustrated in the lyrical construction itself.

Eliot also employs fragments in the work, further articulating his modernist ideas. These fragments are sometimes used to blur the lines between speakers, but also serve to blend opposing strands of knowledge. Trying to singularly categorize the usage of fragments is as difficult as finding a unified meaning in the poem and that is the entire point. Yet, in keeping with modernist thought, can there exist an "entire point"? The answer is inevitably fragmented. In lines 307-311, "To Carthage then I came/ Burning burning burning burning/ O Lord Thou pluckest me out/ O Lord Thou pluckest/ burning", the words of St....

Find Another Essay On Modernism in T.s. Eliots's the Wasteland

Analysis of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

2288 words - 9 pages Analysis of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot Q5 "Much of what Eliot writes about is harsh and bleak, but he writes about it in a way that is often beautiful". Comment fully on both parts of this assertion. Most first time readers of Eliot's work would, probably, agree that his poems read as bleak and depressing. They would also say that many of his poems portray society as having a terminal illness, but when we look deeper you can see

T.S. Eliots use of Poetic techniques in The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Wasteland

1306 words - 5 pages T.S Eliot, widely considered to be one of the fathers of modern poetry, has written many great poems. Among the most well known of these are “The Waste Land, and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, which share similar messages, but are also quite different. In both poems, Eliot uses various poetic techniques to convey themes of repression, alienation, and a general breakdown in western society. Some of the best techniques to examine are ones

Complexity In The Wasteland

1229 words - 5 pages In The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot paints a bleak picture for his readers. Despite the vagueness that is present in his work, it is still obvious that Eliot's feelings concerning the state of the world are not exactly passionate. The complexity in his work signifies the growing difficulty of the world that he criticizes. Through his eyes the world is a very debasing place. The downfall of the world stems from the lack of compassion from its

Modernism Defined in T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and James Joyce's The Dead

1522 words - 6 pages Modernism is by no means easy to define. In fact, no one is exactly sure if the movement has even ended yet. But that’s befitting of the period, as well as the pieces of literature that serve to define Modernism. Two pieces, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and James Joyce’s “The Dead”, are epitomes of this modernism. In both, the main characters are paralyzed by an inability to communicate, even while speaking. Whether through

Description of five places in "The Wasteland"

738 words - 3 pages disease. The wasteland is not a clean place.RocklandRockland has no water. Without water, there is no life. There is no vegetation or signs of growth it is static. Even when it thunders, there is no chance of a storm because it never rains in Rockland. When one visits Rockland, they match their surrounding. Water escapes them and one cannot even spit or sweat in Rockland.It is solely rock and mountains of rock. A sandy road winds up the sharp mountains

Modernism, Modernists in American Literature, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and T.S Eliot

1313 words - 5 pages Modernists we see Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and T.S Eliot.Because Robert Frost was born on a farm, theme of his writings about nature, so other Modernists rejects him. Like other writer Robert Frost lived abroad and then back to the America. Robert Frost is seen a bridge from realism into Modernism. His form is traditional, his style is traditional but his questions are Modernist. He has traditional rhyme in his writings and poems

Influences in the Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

1821 words - 7 pages The 1920’s are often referred to as the roaring twenties. It is customarily described as the golden age, boisterous and wild time period (Meredith 51). Contrary to this popular belief, authors, T.S Eliot, Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald described this time period differently. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land vividly describes the very state the world was found in after World War I. Eliot examines the way the land is left desolate, and the

Daisy Buchanan: the True Inhabitant of the Wasteland in "The Great Gatsby"

625 words - 3 pages name of Buchanan and having the old money that comes with that last name means more to Daisy then being happy with Gatsby even though he has “New money”. So Daisy is the true inhabitant of the wasteland because she essentially wastes her life away, Daisy has the opportunity to better her life but because her ego gets in the way she stays in the same situation she’s always been in and will always be in. Daisy even comments in chapter one how she

T.S. Eliot’s Powerful Use of Fragmentation in The Waste Land

2694 words - 11 pages T.S. Eliot’s Powerful Use of Fragmentation in The Waste Land T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is an elaborate and mysterious montage of lines from other works, fleeting observations, conversations, scenery, and even languages. Though this approach seems to render the poem needlessly oblique, this style allows the poem to achieve multi-layered significance impossible in a more straightforward poetic style. Eliot’s use of fragmentation in The

Henrik Ibsen: The Father of Modernism in Theatre

753 words - 3 pages Henrik Ibsen: The Father of Modernism in Theatre Rank, deadly pessimistic, a disease, evil to be deprecated (Bordman and Hischak 1). Who would have thought such words would be used to describe the work of the man who swept modernism into theatre? Henrik Ibsen’s life was not one to envy. The shame the surrounded his childhood and seeped into his adulthood greatly impacted his writing. Infusing his plays with highly controversial themes, which

Modernism vs. Traditionalism in The Mayor of Casterbridge

1803 words - 7 pages An Essay on Modernism vs. Traditionalism in The Mayor of Casterbridge During the first half of the 19th century English society was making the difficult transition from a pre-industrial Britain to ‘modern' Victorian times. In agriculture, most of the transition took place around 1846 with the repeal of the corn laws. This allowed foreign grain to be imported into England for the first time. Consequently, the entire structure and methods of

Similar Essays

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland Essay

1314 words - 5 pages T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland Traditionally, authors begin their compositions at the beginning and then proceed to an end, creating a logical flow of information towards a conclusion. T.S. Eliot threw most traditional form out the window as he composed The Waste Land. The voice changes, the structure varies, his allusions are elusive, and the first section of the poem is entitled “The Burial of The Dead.” This of course does not speak to a

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland Essay

3458 words - 14 pages T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland In T.S. Eliot’s most famous poem The Wasteland, a bleak picture of post-war London civilization is illuminated. The inhabitants of Eliot’s wasteland are living in a morally bankrupt and spiritually lost society. Through fragmented narration, Eliot recalls tales of lost love, misplaced lust, forgone spirituality, fruitless pilgrimages, and the “living dead”- those who shuffle through life without a care. These

The Absence Of Fertility In T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland"

2645 words - 11 pages Written in the 1920s, this T.S. Eliot poem describes the modern world as a wasteland in the aftermath of World War I. Literally, "The Wasteland" refers to the battlefields of France, where French and British troops fought the Germans, and have been transformed into muddy graves. Figuratively, Eliot captures the emotional and spiritual despair that had been evident in Europe but became augmented by the deaths associated with WWI. For many, it was

The Wasteland By T.S. Eliot Essay

792 words - 3 pages The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot In the poem, The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot gives a primarily positive connotation by using the theme of speech, language, and failure of speech. In each of the sections, Eliot shows how speech and communication are important in life. He also shows that speech cannot always accomplish what actions can. The way the characters in the poem use speech show that speech and communication are important. A Game of Chess