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  1. 1. “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot Adela, Erica and Hilda
  2. 2. 2 Synopsis 433 lines 20th Century Meditation on the state of Western civilization mixes descriptions of contemporary life with literary allusions and quotations, religious symbolism, and references to ancient and medieval cultures and mythologies, vegetation and fertility rites
  3. 3. 3 Eastern religions and philosophies emphasize themes of barrenness and desolation and portrays a dying society the ending suggests hope of redemption through concepts and images grounded on the synthesis of Christian and Eastern (Hindu/Buddhist) spirituality Synopsis
  4. 4. 4 Language & Form Modernist poetry. Irregular verse, at times free, at times reminiscent of the blank verse of Eliot’s plays The poem was reduced to half the length of earlier drafts at Ezra Pound's suggestion Complex scholarly annotations to explain the many quotations and obscure allusions Five sections and features multiple voices and a deliberate attempt at creating a sense of fragmentation, discontinuity, and decay.
  5. 5. 5 Structure Epigraph Five sections The Burial of the Dead A Game of Chess The Fire Sermon Death by Water What the Thunder Said
  6. 6. 6 "Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibulla ti qeleiz; respondebat illa: apoqanein qelw." For Ezra Pound il miglior fabbro. Epigraph Quotes Petronius's Satyricon (first century C.E.) “For once I myself saw with my own eyes the Sibyl at Cumae hanging in a cage, and when the boys said to her ‘Sibyl, what do you want?’ she replied, ‘I want to die.’”
  7. 7. 7 I. The Burial of the Dead (1/2) Four poems Line 1-18 Marie recalls her sledding and claims that she is German, not Russian. The woman mixes a meditation on the seasons with remarks on the barren state of her current existence. Line 19-42 A prophetic, apocalyptic invitation to journey into a desert waste, where the speaker will show the reader “something different from either/ Your shadow at morning striding behind you/ Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;/ [He] will show you fear in a handful of dust.“
  8. 8. 8 I. The Burial of the Dead (2/2) Four poems Line 43-59 It describes an imaginative tarot reading, in which some of the cards Eliot includes in the reading are not part of an actual tarot deck. Line 60-76 The speaker walks through a London populated by ghosts of the dead. He confronts a figure with whom he once fought in a battle. The speaker asks the ghostly figure, Stetson, about the fate of a corpse planted in his garden.
  9. 9. 9 II. A Game of Chess This section focuses on two opposing scenes: high society and the lower classes. Two poems Line 77-138 A wealthy, highly groomed woman surrounded by exquisite furnishings. Line 139-172 In a London barroom, where two women discuss a third woman.
  10. 10. 10 III. The Fire Sermon (1/3) Taken from a sermon given by Buddha in which he encourages his followers to give up earthly passion and seek freedom from earthly things. Four poems Line 173-206 Line 207-214 Line 215-265 Line 266-311
  11. 11. 11 III. The Fire Sermon (2/3) The section opens with a desolate riverside scene: Rats and garbage surround. The speaker, who is fishing and “musing on the king my brother's wreck.” The speaker is then propositioned by Mr. Eugenides, the one-eyed merchant of Madame Sosostris's tarot pack.
  12. 12. 12 III. The Fire Sermon (3/3) The speaker then proclaims himself to be Tiresias, a figure from classical mythology who has both male and female features and is blind but can “see” into the future. Tiresias/the speaker observes a young typist, at home for tea, who awaits her lover, a dull and slightly arrogant clerk. The woman allows the clerk to have his way with her, and he leaves victorious. Tiresias, who has “foresuffered all,” watches the whole thing. After her lover's departure, the typist thinks only that she's glad the encounter is done and over.
  13. 13. 13 IV. Death by Water The shortest section of the poem. Describes a man, Phlebas the Phoenician, who has died by drowning. In death he has forgotten his worldly cares as the creatures of the sea have picked his body apart.
  14. 14. 14 V. What the Thunder Said (1/2) One poem: line 322-423 Builds to an apocalyptic climax, as suffering people become "hooded hordes swarming" and the "unreal" cities of Jerusalem, Athens, Alexandria, Vienna, and London are destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again. The scene then shifts to the Ganges, half a world away from Europe, where thunder rumbles.
  15. 15. 15 V. What the Thunder Said (2/2) Finale: line 424-434 Ends with a series of disparate fragments from a children's song, from Dante, and from Elizabethan drama, leading up to a final chant of “Shantih shantih shantih.”
  16. 16. Theme source
  17. 17. 17 I. The Burial of the Dead Theme Inhabitants in the Waste Land live a hopeless life. People can usually obtain salvation (rebirth) from the burial of the dead, but inhabitants in the Waste Land are afraid of rebirth.
  18. 18. 18 II. A Game of Chess Theme The community's impotence and degradation, sex and spirit, is conveyed.
  19. 19. 19 III. The Fire Sermon Theme Eliot uses St. Augustine and Buddha’s thoughts to teach man to keep away from decay.
  20. 20. 20 IV. Death by Water Theme There will be no revival or resurrection after the Phoenician’s death. Misunderstanding of greed and values have buried human beings deeper as a whole into the whirlpool.
  21. 21. 21 V. What the Thunder Said Theme The thunder said human beings could be saved through three verbs--give, sympathize, and control.
  22. 22. 22 Analysis (1/2) Eliot uses A modern myth that world moving toward crisis and chaos Multiple narrators: to see from different angles Dramatic monologue: to convey the characters’ stream of unconsciousness and psychological condition. Fragmentation: fragmentation of modern life, lack of integration in the modern experience
  23. 23. 23 Allusion to plays, and myths: To compare and contrast the present and the past To produce the dramatic irony (Myths exists in fertility rites and a universal subconscious. Eliot uses myths to produce sympathy. ) Biblical references: severed from the system of belief that gave them coherence and meaning. Analysis (2/2)
  24. 24. 24 Techniques in Text Dramatic monologue (L8—18, L25—30) Allusions to the Bible (L20), plays (The Tempest, The Devil’s Law Case), and myths (The Fisher King, Inferno) Fragmentary forms—Ex. broken image (L22)(L428-30) Symbols of water, hyacinth, the Tarot pack of cards, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, the Hanged God. Compare and Contrast---Mylae War is compared to the World War I. Quotations—Paradise Lost9 (IV, 140), The Devil’s Law Case (III,ii,162), The White Devil (V,6, 203-205), Confession… pun—jug (L103)
  25. 25. 25 Epigraph to express the subject Sibyl in the Satyricon (myth) , a woman with prophetic power and long life, grows old, but cannot die. She is yearning to die. The Sibyl's condition suggests Eliot lives in a culture that has decayed and withered but will not end.
  26. 26. 26 Quotation And Interpretation L1-7 APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding …Winter kept us warm, covering … (The Waste Land opens with a compare to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. April is not the painful month for pilgrimages and storytelling.) L30 I will show you fear in a handful of dust. (How dry and fearful the Waste Land it is. )
  27. 27. 27 Quotation And Interpretation L55 The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. (The death and rebirth of a god – Rebirth comes after the death. And water suggests spiritual renewal.)
  28. 28. 28 L99-103 The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king…'Jug Jug' to dirty ears. (People only can hear the sex and violence in the myth but not appreciate a myth.) L126 'Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?' (Inhabitants in the Waste Land are without thoughts—spiritual dryness.) Quotation And Interpretation
  29. 29. 29 L48 Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look! L257 ‘This music crept by me upon the waters’ (Quoted from Shakespeare’s The Tempest— sea-change is the symbol of refreshment and purification. And the Waste Land is a place that is lack of water.) Quotation And Interpretation
  30. 30. 30 L329 We who were living are now dying (People have no belief. Religion doesn't exist for them.) L423-25 I sat upon the shore …Shall I at least set my lands in order? (In the myth of the Fisher King, the king is impotent and the land is barren; society waits for salvation in the person of a knight (looking for the Holy Grail) who will come and ask the right question and bring the much-needed rain.) Quotation And Interpretation
  31. 31. 31 Study Questions 1. What is the function of the epigraph in the beginning to the poem? 2. Is the downward motion significant in the first section? 3. What does the thunder say? What is happening to the waste land? 4. What is the "Waste Land" Eliot describes?
  32. 32. 32 5. Why T.S. Eliot chose the “A Game of Chess” as the title of the second part of the work? What’s the connection of this section with previous one? 6. What the representative meaning of “water” in the fourth part of the work? Study Questions
  33. 33. 33 References “Dr. Fidel Fajardo-Acosta's World Literature Website.” 1 Dec. 2005 <http://fajardo-acosta.com/worldlit/eliot/waste_land.htm>. Eliot, Thomas Stearns. "The Waste Land." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. 7th ed. Vol. 2. New York: Norton, 2000. 2368-83. Modernist Poetry in English. 4 Dec. 2005 <http://www.answers.com/topic/modernist-poetry-in-english>. Parker, Rickard A. Exploring The Waste Land. 29 Sep. 2002. 5 Dec. 2005 <http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/ thewasteland/explore.html>. SparkNotes: Eliot’s Poetry. 1 Dec. 2005 <http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/eliot/index.html>. “The Waste Land.” 1 Dec. 2005 <http://www.geocities.com/ Athens/Olympus/5599/literature/wasteland.html>. “The Waste Land Interpretation.” 5 Dec. 2005 <http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC040522/Poetryindexbyjosefina/was telandindex.htm>.