The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
The Waste Land is a poem by T. S. Eliot which illustrates some spiritual reactions on the lack of self-control in sexuality in human beings which is on the increase. The part of the poem called “A Game of Chess” has two scenarios that are different from each other. The first section talks of the upper class while the second depicts the lower one. Eliot makes the reader undergo or experience a pessimistic insinuation from the poem’s title. The latter is derived from Thomas Middleton’s plays of the seventeenth century. In the plays, a move while playing a game of chess implies stages in a seduction. The poem opens up with a depiction of a woman sitting in a highly furnished exclusive room. She is a spruced lady, who is waiting for her lover. The woman’s anxious thoughts become hysterical and, eventually, she starts to cry. She starts her day planning to play a game of chess and has an outing. The second scenario makes the poem to take a shift to a barroom in London, where two women are gossiping about a third one. One of them tries to give an account of a conversation between herself and Lil, whose husband had been set free from the army. She had rebuked Lil for her failure to have false teeth. She scolds Lil by telling her that her husband will cheat on her because she does not look appealing. Lil, however, states that her teeth are like that because she is taking some medication to stimulate abortion. Lil had almost died when conceiving her fifth child. The women then depart from the bar (Rai 60).
The first scene of this section is in blank unrhymed verses. The lines become more and more unrhymed as well as asymmetrical in extent and meter as the poem unfolds. This brings in a feeling of dissolution of things that are diminishing. The woman of the initial half starts to air her mistrustful thoughts, “things do fall apart.” In this section, the reader goes through the lines of discourse. In the first half, we have the last lines rhyming. This marks a fractional revisit to steadiness (Bloom 55).
The second part of this section is a sudden interruption of the ongoing discourse by a refrain from the barman. The poem in this place is characterized by a loose-fitting sequence of phrases. The second section is conceivably the most poetically tentative part in the whole poem. The author here writes in vernacular language depicting a low class. The two women discussed above represent both sides of modern sexuality. One side of modern sexuality is shown as desiccated, unproductive swapping indissoluble from psychosis and self-destruction. The other side of contemporary sexuality is a widespread lushness linked to the lack of traditions and hasty aging. One of the women is coupled by insinuation with Cleopatra, Lamia, and Dido by high merit of the luxury of language adjoining her. She is perturbed and exceedingly emotional. Her connection to “Dido” and “Cleopatra” proposes her essential ludicrousness. Dido and Cleopatra died after committing suicide out of frustrations due to love. However, the first woman cannot become an artistic hallmark. Her anxiety is pitiable rather than appealing since she demands her lover to live with her and talk to her about his feelings. The devotee or lover, who looks as if he is associated with the speaker of this section of the poem, only thinks of obscuring and rats in the midst of deceased men’s bones. The woman is unambiguously contrasted to “Philomela.” The latter is a character in “Metamorphoses” by Ovid that was raped by the King who was her brother-in-law. Her tongue is then cut in order to make her quiet. Nevertheless, she has her revenge when she killed the king’s son and fed the body to the king. Comparison between the woman in the poem and Philomena suggests that she is incapable to converse her internal self to humankind. The woman’s environs are aesthetically gratifying; however, in the end, they are sterile and pointless. This is demonstrated by the gibberish song that she starts to sing (Rai 77).
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As one reads the second scene in the poem, it ebbs the likelihood that sex leads to the renaissance. Therefore, cannot bring regeneration in either cultural or individual means according to the poem. This section is outstandingly free of the cultural insinuations that overlook the rest of the text. The part of this literary work instead uses vernacular language to put forth its point. Eliot is able to create astounding and attractive poetry. Contrary to this, he is unable to present the women’s conversation as an additional reason for cynicism. Lil is a devoted wife who is always by her husband’s side. However, she has been betrayed by her body and compared to the lady in the first section. There is also some contrast between the woman in the first section and prominent female suicides. Elliot has compared the two women who hail from different societies to show that sex is not regenerative (Bloom 80).
Women characters in the poem include Madame Sosostris, the rich lady, Philomela, a typist, the two women, and Lil. Women in the poem seem to be undergoing some kind of problems due to the failed love. They turn to suicide to console their empty hearts which are full of pain. Lil, for example, is a dedicated woman who offers all the support she can to her husband. She still has a problem in that her husband might cheat on her since she has not replaced her teeth. The first woman in the first section and Lil are good illustrations of how modern sexuality does not work. Women, in this case, have been abused and used by men for sexual advances. Philomena was, for instance, raped and her tongue removed. Eliot has used women in the poem to emphasis its title – “The Waste Land.” “The Waste Land” does not have water – the source of life. Thus the author uses women’s characters to show how they enable creation. In addition, modern sex lacks regeneration due to the lust and men who no longer appreciate their wives. Women characters are a symbol of pain in the failed marriages and in broken relationships and love in the poem. The poem includes both women from high and low class when talking of failure or lack of sex regeneration (Russell 90).
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“The Waste Land” is a poem by Eliot that tries to talk about sex in the modern world. Sex lacks regeneration in the modern world. The poem has two sections which are divided in terms of the low and upper class. Women in the poem are undergoing pain having been hurt by their lovers. Lil, for example, lacks the appeal that she would need to attract her husband. The first woman in the first section is lonely and even when she plays a game of chess she does not enjoy it. The writer has used a concept of the “wasteland” to mean a place that lacks water. Lack of water would cause death, as well as too much water.