Tuesday, October 11, 2011

T.S. Eliot--The Waste Land

The Burial of the Dead--
At the beginning, it starts out by talking of the memories that Marie has as a child. She describes that she goes off to have coffee with her cousin. In the lines 20-30, it talks about a shadow under a red rock. This could be a temptation that has come across her and she takes decides to take it because in line 40, she says "living nor dead and i knew nothing" which I think she was maybe depressed and didn't want to live anymore.
The paragraph after, speaks of a woman that is the best at fortune telling and of how she reads Marie's future. I think that she probably tells her that she must be careful because she see's her death coming. Then in the last paragraph, I think they find Marie dead and they have her funeral. Everyone morns her death, but she still speaks as if she was there. Maybe her spirit is still roaming because she tries to speak to her brother about a corpse he planted.

A Game of Chess--
In the second part, the scene is described as a woman sitting by a window that is rich and in a room full of strange synthetic perfumes. She seems to be thinking of her past and starts to speak to herself. She says that her nerves are bad and this could probably be that she's going nuts or something!
Afterwords, he starts speaking about a woman that is waiting for her husbands return. She is scared and doesn't know how he will take the fact that she didn't buy her teeth like she had promised, but instead she used it for drugs. Also, I think that she had an affair and doesn't know how he will take her disloyalty.

The Fire Sermon--
This part sort of got me to think that Eliot was describing the narrator as being in a solitaire graveyard. Also, he says that he speaks not loud or long but still hears the rattle of bones and chuckles, which could just be his conscience getting the best of him.
Around line 215, he starts talking about the encounter of two lovers. The woman awaits in her hotel room for this man, which makes it seem like they are having an affair of some kind. In line 240-243, he says "exploring hands encounter no defense; His vanity requires no response, And makes a welcome of indifference; with these lines, it seems to me that the woman is no longer in love and feels like its just an obligation to have this encounter with the man.

Death By Water--
This part describes the death of Phlebas. Phlebas finds his death at sea, but is described as having lived his life. The whirlpool could signify the way that life is and of how it brings good and bad to one's life.

What the Thunder Said--
I didn't really understand this last part because it speaks of rocks and water, but isn't very clear. The rocks could signify life and the water could be the good things of life. He says that if there were rock and water then there could be  a pool among the rock which could mean tranquility. Also, when he talks about the third person walking, does he try to say its death? The conversation at the end is also very confusing and not clear at ALL!!


  1. Thank you for your explanation about The Burial of the Dead. I was very confused by this section and how you described it helped me to understand it better!

  2. What the Thunder Said jumps from rock to water and all the things in between because Eliot wants you to feel desperate. The fact that the reader can never settle on one thing transfers Eliot's feelings of absurdity in the world to the reader. At least, that's how I understood it in class.

    From my initial interpretation, I thought the character was stuck in a desert and was desperately thirsty, but could not find water anywhere. The character longs for the water, even just the sound of the water, yet still cannot get it. To me, the character had a burning desire, a need for the water, to the point of insanity, because after all of the character's searching, the last line states, "But there is no water." The character never gets the water, and thus is stuck in limbo.

  3. I totally get your point and in a way not having water was a way to explain all the chaos that he was speaking about throughout the whole poem. When he didn't have it, it showed how desperate he was and how he found it all absurd. And like you said that he was stuck in limbo makes complete since because he was literally going nuts!:)