The Waste Land

The Characteristics of French Symbolist Doyens

The characteristics of the French symbolist doyens like Baudalaire, Laforgue, Rimbaud, and Mallarme come to mind when a literal growth topic arises. The glitzy bohemian literary "statespersons" described are largely mirrored in Eliot's poetic development. Eliot discovered a method to combine poetry with the highest level of intellectualism without losing the textual sensuality, despite the fact that many literary characteristics are typically associated with the four. As will be discussed below, his work The Waste Land echoes a broader cultural viewpoint by depicting a modern world in ruin as well as one that is profoundly meaningful and full of beauty. Eliot uses literal techniques like juxtapositions as well as pastiches to illustrate his thoughts and opinions without straining to argue out in making his points explicit. He also adopts a character and then ascribes a trait that befits a typical modern man as described by some of his contemporaries like Faulkner as well as Fitzgerald. “Prufrock,” as a title character, is an ideal case example of overly intellectualism, solitary as well as an individual who has the significant education but faces challenges in expressing own thoughts to the world outside the classroom (Banerjee 574). It is an accurate depiction of the millennial generations that are holding numerous academic credentials but are unable to show their worth in the ideal world of work contrary to the elite of ancient periods.

Eliot's Maturing Literary Skills

As Eliot ages, so did his literary skills that became mature, especially on ascribing to Christian teachings through the Bible. His subsequent poetry dissociated from the breadth of the illusions, as they were usually adapted, to a depth of analysis with an optimistic tone. Four Quartets, for instance, exploited the philosophical terrain that offers many propositions contrary to the old nihilistic approach. The prevailing socio-economic and political situations in England, in the course of the World War II, lend The Quartet, which addresses mortality, time, art, and experiences, issues that are the much needed in literary context. Other than crying foul of the ruins of the contemporary culture and praising the cultural past, The Quartets utilizes the spirituality and arts to propose ways around human limits in contrast to the theme of The Waste Land, which is full of lamentations of the perceived cultural leakages that have befallen the modern world. To be precise, the modern formal experiments, philosophy, and logic have replaced the poet’s early pastiche techniques to favor an emergent language consciousness. The language consciousness, in turn, prioritizes sounds alongside other noticeable properties to generate drama and musicality among other subtle literal effects.

Eliot's Influence on British Literary Texts

Eliot’s style of writing was of significant influence to the British literary texts. Elliot’s poetry never distorted the western myths and literary canons producing the work that is expressively composed of quotations, scholarly exegeses, allusions, and footnotes. His poem is well-written in terms of unity and coherence. In The Traditional and Individual Talent, Eliot vents massive praises to the literary traditions alluding that “the best writers are those that strive to fit into the shoes of the predecessor writers” as if literature was a kind of stream that flowed, and there was an obligation for any writer to flow in the same river (Banerjee 575). In addition, Eliot’s literary work addressed the socioeconomic and political vices. Perhaps, it is the main reason why it trended so much. As a result of Eliot’s idea of writing poems that carried a message, poetic writers started writing pieces that were coherent and full of unity (Eliot 58). Due to this abrupt turn in the style of writing, it is safe to state the fact that The Wasteland changed and shaped the British literary history significantly. The Waste Land, for that matter, is a juxtaposition of various element fragments of both mythic and literary traditions where sounds, as well as scenes, resonate with the modern world. What such a poetic collage points at is the canonical texts’ reinterpretation in the historical context in the poet’s evaluation of humanity and societal shifts.

Gender Roles and Sexuality in The Wasteland

The Wasteland depicts an age where gender roles and sexuality are softened. Women had no other place than the domestic spheres and the culture never allowed an open discussion of sexuality beyond the confines of an individual’s bedroom with most of the social interactions dictated by the puritanical atmospheres. The demise of Queen Victoria in the year 1901 welcomed an era full of forthrightness and liberty termed the Edwardian age (Litz 434). People learned to break away from the social dogmas with English women consistent in their universal suffrage rights. Other women also began to smoke in public as well as attend school up to the level their capacity could tolerate as universities started admitting women. Eliot, on the same note, depicted the dawn of the new era expressing major setbacks of the modern age inherent to freedoms. “The J. Alfred Prufrock Love Song” depicts the emasculation feelings that returning World War I soldiers elucidated on finding an entirely new state of affairs where women could take roles that were a preserve for males (Litz 433). The Waste Land explores sexuality talking about rape, abortion, and prostitution among other non-reproductive sexuality issues. The central character in The Waste Land, for instance, Tiresias, is bisexual drawing his transformation and prophesy powers from his sexual orientation. Through Tiresias, the author develops a whole character that unites the two genitalia into one person suggesting the unison of the purpose and the equality of the two genders.

The Fragmentation Technique in The Wasteland

The Wasteland is also significant in relation to the British literary history in that Elliot exhausted the fragmentation technique for the sake of illustrating the modern level of the chaotic existence. In relation to other poems that were written before The Wasteland, it is safe to state the fact that they did not have any proper collaging pieces as well as dialogue bits, scholarly ideas, formal styles, foreign languages, and tones in a single poetic work. That were the means to display the humanity’s destroyed psyche in the contemporary world when he said that “these fragments I have shored against my ruins” (Eliot 431).

The Use of Tradition and Religious Texts in The Wasteland

On the other note, the earlier literal texts did not have a vast number of traditions and religious texts. The Wasteland is a unique long poem that was written using the styles mentioned above. Elliot used many traditional and religious issues to make his poem highly interesting. In the notes to The Waste Land, Eliot describes the crucial role of the religious myths and symbols drawing examples from the fertility rituals of the early days where the land’s fertility was linked to the prevailing health status of the Fisher King (Eliot 65). The latter was subsequently attached to the legends of the Holy Grail. In the last chapters of The Waste Land, the failure of rituals to succeed in their goal of healing the wasteland no matter what the author introduces as a substitute like the pagan ceremonies, Buddhist speeches as well as Hindu chants were eminent (Litz 65). The later literary works adopt their images from the Christian epitaphs including, but not limited to, the echo of the Lord's Prayer as depicted in “The Hollow Men” as well as the story of the wise men under the “Journey of the Magi.”

Eliot's Influence on British and Worldwide Poetic Artists

Despite the fact that he borrowed the idea from James Joyce, it should be acknowledged that Elliot is credited with creating the emphasis and the reflection on how these styles are significant (Litz 34). After this poem was published, more and more poetic artists in Britain and all over the world started using Eliot’s approaches. Slowly, the British form of writing poems began changing for the better. Basically, even though Eliot’s poetry was exposed to the massive transformation in forms and textures, there were also many unifying dimensions. Eliot’s work has a certain inclination of trying to marry the aesthetic, intellectual as well as emotional, in a manner that acknowledges past and present endeavors; a style that has gained roots in the current literary texts.

Works Cited

Banerjee, Amitav. "Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land." English Studies, vol. 97, no. 5, 2016, pp. 573-575.

Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Waste Land (Liveright Classics). WW Norton & Company, 2013.

Litz, Walton A. Eliot in His Time. Essays on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of The Wasteland. Princeton University Press, 2015.

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