The Waste Land Analysis

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The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot is a complex, epic and infinitely ambitious poem and as such, it is regarded as one of the most important poems in all of literature. It is a true representation of Modernist writing, possessing much of the literary characteristics that have since been labelled as "Modernist." Lewis Turco states that "anyone coming to literary consciousness after 1923 must at least confront, if not come to terms with, The Waste Land, (289)" while Robert E. Knoll states that the poem is the "most controversial and the most influential poem of the twentieth century" (qtd. in Hinchliffe 11). I myself found it extremely difficult to grasp any real meaning or accurate understanding from the poem. It frequently leaves the reader baffled and disheartened by its sheer complexity, experimentalism and above all the reader 's own inability to comprehend or uncover any real meaning from the poem. Eliot 's poem could almost be described as jazz-like in its design. This comparison with jazz music becomes particularly apt in depicting the poem 's free flowing, improvisational style. This essay will discuss exactly how Eliot 's masterpiece goes about confounding the reader. It will pay particular attention to its disjointed timeline, its use of the stream of consciousness technique and the numerous voices of the poem, its use of literary allusions and complexity and variety of languages used throughout. It will attempt to show exactly how these literary techniques and

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