Reading and Listening to The Waste Land: Be Patient!

wasteland-image

Some of you will be reading The Waste Land for the first time for this course, while others may have studied it before. It was an enormously influential poem in a number of ways, on both poetry and fiction, in the U.S. and beyond, which is one reason we are reading—and listening!—to it. Please be sure that you ARE listening to Eliot read the poem as we study it and that you are NOT looking for guides to it online. You need to read it and think about it for yourself, to begin with

 

It is fair to say that The Waste Land revolutionized modern poetry. How?

 

First of all, in its polyvocality, or use of multiple voices. We are accustomed, in lyric poetry, to hearing from one speaker at a time. The Waste Land juxtaposes a number of different speakers, and shifts between them are not explicitly indicated, as they would be in a play. The original title for The Waste Land was “He Do the Police in Different Voices,” a reference to Charles Dickens’s novel, Our Mutual Friend. In addition to multiple speakers, the poem also incorporates snatches of poetry and sacred texts in languages other than English. The poem also includes many allusions to other texts, historical events, and so on. At the time, readers of poetry were more accustomed to this sort of thing: “Day is Done,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

 

Second of all, The Waste Land does not use a consistent form, in terms of line length and rhythm and meter and rhyme; usually we understand this to mean it is written in free verse. However, in a 1917 essay called “Reflections on Vers Libre,” Eliot offered some important insights on the concept of free verse, which is not a very meaningful term:

 

“There is no freedom in art… the so-called vers libre which is good is anything but ‘free.’ “

 

“If vers libre is a genuine verse-form it will have a positive definition. And I can define it only in negatives: (1) absence of pattern, (2) absence of rhyme, (3) absence of metre.”

 

Yet all poetry has rhythm and meter of some kind: “Any line can be divided into feet and accents.”

“The most interesting verse … in our language … either … tak[es] a very simple form, like the iambic pentameter, and constantly withdraw[s] from it, or tak[es] no form at all, and constantly approximat[es] to a very simple one. It is this contrast between fixity and flux, this unperceived evasion of monotony, which is the very life of verse.”

 

“the ghost of some simple metre should lurk behind the arras in even the ‘freest’ verse; to advance menacingly as we doze, and withdraw as we rouse. Or, freedom is only true freedom when it appears against the background of an artificial limitation.”

 

As Robert Hass wrote in his essay, “Listening and Making,” in rhythm on free verse, “Repetition makes us feel secure and variation makes us feel free.” We may find that instances of irregular or regular rhythm within a set meter can correspond to moments of intensity or emphasis, depending on context. Shifts from one rhythmic or metrical pattern, or changes in line length, make us wake up and take notice. Regular rhythm usually has some semantic effect: think of hip-hop, which does not follow a metronome but is not, obviously, without rhythmic patterns. And when the rhythm shifts, it often signals a change in mood, a new phase in an argument, etc.

 

Without a set pattern of rhyme, a poet’s choices of diction and syntax may become even more prominent and important, as they are not controlled at all by a predetermined formal pattern, and rhyme can still be employed to great effect.

 

Eliot continues, in “Reflections on Vers Libre,”

 

“The rejection of rhyme is not a leap at facility; on the contrary, it imposes a much severer strain upon the language. When the comforting echo of rhyme is removed, success or failure in the choice of words, in the sentence structure, in the order, is at once more apparent. Rhyme removed, the poet is at once held up to the standards of prose. Rhyme removed, much ethereal music leaps up from the word, music which has hitherto chirped unnoticed in the expanse of prose.”

 

“And this liberation from rhyme might as well be a liberation of rhyme. Freed from its exacting task of supporting lame verse, it could be applied with greater effect where it is most needed. There are often passages in an unrhymed poem where rhyme is wanted for some special effect, for a sudden tightening-up, for a cumulative insistence, or for an abrupt change in mood.”

 

According to Eliot, then, there may be no such thing as free verse…

 

“And as for vers libre, we conclude that it is not defined by absence of pattern or absence of rhyme, for other verse is without these; that it is not defined by non-existence of metre, since even the worst verse can be scanned; and we conclude that the division between Conservative Verse [formal poetry] and vers libre does not exist, for there is only good verse, bad verse, and chaos.”

 

Here is functional definition of free verse: Poetry that does not follow, for long, any set formal pattern of rhyme, rhythm, meter or line length. Yet these elements (with the exception of rhyme at times) are nevertheless important, and can underscore semantic aspects of the poem.

 

In reading free verse, we (still) want to:

– Notice patterns and variations in the rhythm and meter, and discover and appreciate the semantic nuances of these patterns and variations.

– Pay attention to variations in line length, to enjambment (when the sentence runs over the line) and endstopping (when the end of a sentence coincides with the end of a line) and to

half-meanings, produced in a line before the sentences is completed on the next line. For instance, “But at my back from time to time I hear / The sound of horns and motors” (ll. 196-197). Here the half meaning of line 196 is a tone of apprehension and suspense, created by the break between the verb, “hear,” and its object, what the speaker hears. What is approaching the speaker from behind? This line alludes to Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress, “But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.” In Eliot’s poem, one hears an approaching motor car instead, which deflates the apprehension a bit. Only the banal sounds of approaching motor cars, not Time reminding us of impending death.)

– Describe the syntax and notice what phrases and words are emphasized by the word order and by repeated syntactic patterns.

– Notice any rhyme, and consider whether it is used “for some special effect, for a sudden tightening-up, for a cumulative insistence, or for an abrupt change in mood.”

– Notice other aural patterns, such as assonance, alliteration, and near rhyme.

So, to return to the revolutionary aspects of The Waste Land: the polyvocality and allusive nature of The Waste Land, and the fact that it is written in free verse, make it a challenging read for those who would hope to understand it quickly and easily. Be patient with yourself and with the poem as you read it.

 

It can be tempting to constantly jump to the footnotes, but that makes for a very disjointed reading of the poem.  When you read it for the first time, if this is the first time, LISTEN TO ELIOT reading it, try to go with it. Enjoy what you can of the language, the images, the rhythm. There will be allusions you don’t get; don’t fret. Do notice when a new speaker seems to come in, and take notes about the mood of each speaker’s section, and how it seems to shift.

 

The second and third (and maybe fourth and fifth and sixth, etc.!) times you read the poem, READ IT ALOUD YOURSELF, and feel free to refer to Eliot’s notes for the poem, which briefly explain the allusions, as well as the other secondary sources available in our Norton Critical Edition, which explain the allusions in detail. But don’t let the understanding the allusions take over your primary experience of the poem itself.

 

By the time we conclude The Waste Land, you will have a good sense of the different speakers in the poem, thanks to your own close reading and to an audio lecture I will post about it and our related secondary readings at the end of next week (by February 3rd). I won’t go into more detail now because I don’t want to preempt your primary experience with the poem.

 

So, for our second Blog Response, I want you to zoom in on a short passage from the first three sections of the poem in which we shift from one or more speakers to another. Choose one of these passages, which I have chosen because they definitely include more than one speaker:

 

  1. 1-30
  2. 43-76
  3. 111-151
  4. 173-214
  5. 215-256
  6. 257-295
  7. 296-311

 

Answer these questions below about it, and as you prepare to answer them, look up a few words from the passage in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online (you will find it on the CSUB library webpage, here; you need to be logged in). Choose the definitions that seem most relevant to the context in which the words are used. Acquiring a larger vocabulary and understanding the subtle connotations of individual words in context are essential to critical reading and writing. The words you look may be unfamiliar words, or they may be familiar words used in a surprising way. Cite the definitions as relevant in your answers to these questions.

 

1) Who are the speakers in each of the juxtaposed passages, what are they speaking about (and to whom, if there is an explicit audience), and how do specific word choices, in context, illustrate the mood of each speaker? What is that mood? (Don’t feel that you need to identify them precisely. Say what you can infer about each speaker.)

 

Be specific, quoting and analyzing evidence from the passage and, as relevant, the OED. Don’t expect the evidence to speak for itself; explain how it illustrates your answer.

 

2) How do the speakers in the juxtaposed passages seem to relate or connect to each other, to the extent that they do, and why do you think the two passages are juxtaposed?

 

Be specific, quoting and analyzing evidence from the passage and, as relevant, from the OED. Don’t expect the evidence to speak for itself; explain how it illustrates your answer.

 

3) How did you respond to listening to Eliot read the poem? Then, for fun, read and listen to this blog post I co-authored in the sound studies blog Sounding Out!, and let me know your thoughts about it. How might it influence how you listen to Eliot and other poets in this course?

Advertisements

83 Comments

  1. 1. The first speaker in the passage 1-30, seems to be a woman speaking about her childhood. The second speaker I cannot seem to figure out to well but it seems time has passed between the two different speakers yet they are intertwined in each other lives at some point. The mood in the start is a simple delightful mood, speaking about the rising of new life and good childhood memories. For example, “breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire”. This example illustrates the process of how beautiful spring appears form the dead, the once “was” produces the now and future. However, the second speaker quickly changes the mood as if shattering the illusion of childhood happiness. The speakers I believe have no specific audience but to people coping with the tragedy of World War I.
    2. It was difficult for me to understand how the two speakers related to each other however I think the author placed the two passages side by side to show two sides of death. The first passage describes how new life springs out of what death has left behind. While the second speaker discusses how awful death can make someone feel, so awful they are willing to hurt someone else. Also describing how it brings fear of dying yourself, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” By seeing the cremated body in ashes it causes the reader to self-evaluate their own life and how short it can actually be. This theme is just like anything else in the world today, no matter what is going on there are always two sides of the story, we need to see the situation from all perspectives to understand the true meaning of any issue.
    3. Listening to the poem actually helped me understand the poem. I was able to actually hear how the rhythm flows which allowed to grasp a better understanding of the concept. While reading the article that you co-authored, I found it interesting when it discusses how perhaps the reader is influenced to see the poem as a complete serious piece because that’s what society portrays it as but could actually be interpreted different.

    Like

    1. I too had a problem figuring out exactly who the second speaker was in these opening lines. Eventually, I concluded that it must be a family member but it was difficult to tell. Listening to T. S. Elliot read the poem helped me get the flow of the poem as well. I found the style of writing to be difficult to follow otherwise.

      Like

      1. I find myself in agreement with the both of you. I struggled with identifying the second speaker also. After reading it a few times, it seemed as if the first speaker (Marie) set the stage for the second speaker. Furthermore, the second speaker seemed to reminisce about a childhood similar to the first speaker, but in a negative way. This led me to believe that they spent a significant amount of time together when they were younger.

        Like

    2. I agree that it was difficult to distinguish much from the second speaker in passage 1-30. You made a great observation about how spring can appear from the dead in the same way the past and “what was” ultimately produces the “now”. Flowers must first begin as seeds that take root and then sprout, and most of this process appears to be fruitless and desolate on the surface.

      Like

    3. These lines were particularly hard for me to identify where one person began and where the other ended. From what I could tell the two speakers had a close connection, they were possibly family. I actually think the first speaker had a more negative perspective on the seasons. The speaker says, “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire….” (Eliot 5). These lines, to me, seem like the words of someone bitter about the past. The speaker is saying spring is cruel, which is ironic considering spring is usually associated with life and birth.
      Then you have the other speaker. This other speaker seems to be recalling good memories of winter time. Again, it is ironic because winter is associated with death or the death of things. The two views juxtapose each other and that is why I think they were placed together.

      I really liked listening to the recording too. I thought it really helped make the poem more of an experience. Listening to it really helped me get through it. T.S Eliot paused and raised his voice in all the right places to leave a more lasting impact. Also, I thought his voice gave the poem an eerie mood, kind of like what you would expect from an Edgar Allen Poe work.

      Like

  2. Passage 1-30
    1. The first speaker is a woman who is talking about her childhood. The second speakers seem to be maybe a sibling. The mood seems to be happy as the first speaker is talking about childhood memories. For example, “Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee with a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, and went on in the sunlight, into the Hofgarten”. The passage talks about the summer being a surprise at the where lake rain came over them in the sunlight in the garden. Then the second speaker changes the mood shattering the happy illusion she has. I don’t believe they have a audience.
    2. I believe that the two speakers relate to each other in the sense that they each have a different illusion death. Both passages were put next to each other to show that each speaker had different views of the same situation. The first passage describes how new life springs out of what death has left behind. While the second speaker discusses how awful death can make someone feel, so awful they are willing to hurt someone else. This theme is just like anything else in the world today, no matter what is going on there are always two sides of the story, we need to see the situation from all perspectives to understand the true meaning of any issue.
    3. Listening to the poem helped me to understand the poem a little more. I was able to hear how the passages flowed. Actually, helped me understand the poem. I was able to actually hear how the rhythm flows which allowed to grasp a better understanding of the concept. Reading the article that you co-authored I was able to see that the reader sees the poem as serious because poetry is portrayed as serious but some can be read differently.

    Like

    1. Honestly, I interpreted those lines as Eliot’s way of saying the past is better than the present. It seems very cynical and longing for “a better time,” indicated by the beautiful descriptions of the woman’s childhood. The whole poem, in all honesty, seemed to romance the past while discussing the present as ugly and disheartening. Listening to the poem also helped me understand the general storyline of each part. It’s a little weird how much more a person can get from poetry just by listening to it read out loud.

      Like

      1. I am in agreement also. I believe the first and second speakers relate to each others. The two speakers touch on the same subject however they have completely different view. I believe that the first speaker had a satisfying childhood and is ready to embrace death. However, I believe the second speaker is dissatisfied with his/her life and is not.

        Like

    2. I agree with you on how the two relate to each other. I too thought that they had juxtaposing views on death. It seems though that the speakers are referring to death itself as opposed to how death makes someone feel. I think the two speakers contemplate their mortality and the grip it has on them as opposed to the world around them.

      Like

    3. I agree that the two passages were placed in this way to illustrate the two different perspectives of life and death. When someone experiences the death of a loved one, their outlook on life and everything around them can come from a depressed and desolate vantage point.

      Like

    4. I agree with you about the speakers having different interpretations of death, it makes it hard for the person view death in another perspective which goes to show what you said about having two sides of situation. I also agree that listening to poem helped to have a better understanding of it.

      Like

  3. 1. I chose to focus on the stanzas 1 to 30. The first 18 stanzas are talking about a woman who is recalling he childhood when she went sledding with her cousin where, “In the mountains, there you feel free.” The second speaker seems to be speaking in anguish when he/she thinks, “A heap of broken images, where the sun beats / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief[.]” The way they are both written together, it almost looks the second part mocks the first 18 stanzas for its innocence.
    2. I think these passages are together to describe a rose-colored past of nostalgia to the harshness of the adult reality. I can see how some would think of death, maybe it is about death, but it this passage makes me think of childhood-nostalgia vs. adulthood-reality. The woman is looking back at her past with fondness while the man, I am assuming it’s a man, is speaking about the bittersweetness of being an adult.
    3. Listening to T.S. Eliot read his poem was interesting to hear. Hearing his rhythm of speaking the poem reminds me of the introduction of an old black-and-white movie. In your article, you mention the different pitches could effect how we hear something and then you gave those examples of Eliot reading that “April is the cruellest month, breeding / lilacs out of the dead land” line that people missed with to make it sound different. I thought it was interesting to hear it being spoken with a really high pitch and then again with a high pitch and a fast pace. I think if it was read all the way in either pitches people would not take it seriously. Also the McGurk Effect was cool to watch, but even when watching and hearing the man speak I still hear “Ba Ba Ba.”

    Like

    1. I like how you said that the second stanza seems to mock the first that is the idea I got as well. The first is all about innocence and childhood while the second seems to be about the present time, meaning adulthood. I also think it is less about death and more about childhood versus adulthood. I did not, however, think the second speaker was a man, but I can definitely see how it could be a man. I looked at it as more of a woman first looking at childhood and then another woman looking at the present state of things.

      Like

    2. I really like the quote you chose for the first speaker Marie who I agree is mostly in good spirits for her narration, however I think the two speakers are linked not because they are strict “mock[ing]” opposites but because they both stem from the same sad thread. Perhaps the second is much more upfront and open about the dark void that our lives seem to become as we age but the “there” in Marie’s “There, you feel free” gives me the impression that where she is now, even in high class with the amount of mobility she has to simply change location depending on season and spend her days in a book rather than with hard labor, she has adopted that same notion of cold emptiness we see with the second. It seems to me though the second is an extreme and set on one idea of life Marie, rather than be his polar opposite is a close middle just far along the line to see both the happy innocence of childhood and the harsh reality we face as we age; that our lives our lived and over in an instant. In short, I completely agree with your second answer about It having a purpose of comparing youthful innocence and our questionable adult realities.

      Like

    3. I agree with you. I feel like the second speaker does mock the first speaker. I also felt as if the second speaker was a man. I like your idea of childhood/nostalgia vs adulthood/reality. It could also be about death because it is a sad/depressing passage.

      Like

  4. The speakers in the lines 215-256 of Eliot’s The Wasteland are a man witnessing a passionless interaction between a woman and her lover and, later, the woman. The man observing is disgusted by the young lover, going so far as to call him “the young man carbuncular,” which the book defines as “an infected boil” (231). The woman is relieved when her lover leaves and she’s alone again. The observer and the women both don’t seem to have an explicitly obvious audience, though the observer almost is the audience. Both moods are depressed, especially since Eliot uses words like “the violet hour,” “assaults,” “half-formed thoughts,” and “automatic hand” in their parts (215, 239, 250, 255). However, the observer’s mood leans more towards repulsed at the young man’s actions while the young woman is absent from her thoughts.
    These two passages are plainly connected because the woman is a character in both passages, but seeing the scene from an outsider’s perspective helps and hurts the reader. We are more willing to pity and sympathize with her, but we are also more biased from the observations of the outsiders. Perhaps if we had seen the scene from the young man’s perspective, we would sympathize with him more rather than be a little disgusted with his actions since they are described as “Exploring hands encounter no defence;/ His vanity requires no response” (241-242).
    When I first read Eliot poem without listening to it, I thought this was complete and utter nonsense, and I can’t say that I don’t now. However, listening to it and reading it a few more times has revealed something resembling sense, but I also think that’s the beauty of his poetry. I quite like that it’s almost impossible to understand all the reverences and the constantly changing narrators because it’s such a leap. He was quite brave publishing this since it could have incurred a lot of ridicule from critics, and probably did. There are some poets whose work a person must listen to to fully understand the meaning, like Robert Burns whom I’ve studied before, so I already knew listening to poetry out loud provides a more in-depth look/listen. Eliot was no different.

    Like

    1. I thought your point of the observer being the audience for lines 215-256 is interesting. When I read these lines I thought there was no audience so I will have to read them again with this in mind. I too thought that the poem was a bit nonsensical when I first read it on my own but found that listening to the reading helped me understand it better.

      Like

    2. I had the same thought process when I first read the poem I did not understand it at all! However, after listening to it I was able to get a better understanding of what was going on. I think your comment on the authors leap of using different narrators is a great point. I did not even think of that. Great insight.

      Like

    3. I hope that this does not detract too much from the point of the blog, but throughout these passages I have found that Elliot is a master of insults toward people he does not like, and this section illustrates it better than others. He has such a way with expressing disgust that I can’t help but assume he hated most people by the way he wrote about them. Phrases such as “silk hat on a Bradford millionaire”, “half-formed thought”, and others that you have already mentioned are brutal in their mocking of people. They do not show Elliot expressing indifference towards these people. but an active, passionate hate. It is a good thing that this is mostly fiction.

      Like

  5. In the first part of lines 1-30 the speaker is a woman named Marie. She is speaking of spring and winter. She does not seem to be very fond of the spring month and misses the winter months “Winter kept us warm, covering / Earth in forgetful snow” (l. 5-6). She is reminiscing of a time when she went sledding with her cousin. It seems to me that she misses this time; it was a time of fun and playing. “And down we went. / In the mountains, there you feel free” (l.16-17). Her mood is nostalgic. However, in the very last line of the stanza, “I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter” (l.18), now as a grown woman she does not do these things anymore, she does not see the winter, she leaves it behind.
    The second speaker is harder to identify, she is woman as well and she seems to be going through a journey through the desert. Her mood is sad/depressing “A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief” (l.22-23). She is not reminiscing like the other woman; she seems to be speaking about the present. The two speakers seems to relate to each other because of how the first line of the first stanza says “April is the cruelest month” (l.1), which is a reference to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which are tales about a pilgrimage and then the second stanza has a couple allusions to the Bible.
    I thought that listening to Elliot read the poem helped me to get a better feel for the poem. I found this poem complicated but listening to it out loud helped me to understand it better. In the blog you co-authored I thought it was interesting how changing pitch and speed changed how the poem comes across. I think this shows how listening to the author of a poem read their poetry helps give us a closer idea to what they mean in their poetry.

    Like

    1. I found it interesting that you identified the second speaker as being a woman. You can very much be right. It does seem as though the second speaker is talking about the present, perhaps maybe shes wanting Marie to stop living in the pass and appreciate the present. I also agree that the second speaker does sound like she is in the desert.

      Like

    2. I interpreted the second speaker’s images much differently and at the same time interpreted them very little, as figuring out their position/identity was much harder than the first so I would first like to say I enjoyed your insight very much for its giving of an “oh yeah” moment, small epiphanies I guess. It would make sense for the second to describe a desert to further the comparing power in the piece. For the barren tree’s to belong to that of a desert vs that of a cold winter is something new I never even considered until now, but I suppose the mentioning of a beating sun is a hint I might’ve passed too quickly. I also agree with the line about April being a reference to Chaucer, I think it would specifically relate to the first lines of the prologue if I’m not mistaken? Either way, great insight!

      Like

    3. It was really interesting on how you interpreted the poem, which shows that there isn’t just one right answer in analyzing something, in fact there are many possibilities. Great response.

      Like

  6. In the passage 1-30, the first speaker is a woman. Her name is Marie and she is recalling a childhood memory. The poem begins by her mentioning that spring brings up memories. She then recalls a memory in which her and her cousin went out in a sled to play in the snow. She remembers that “he said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went” (15-16). The mood is happy and reminiscent. I am not sure who the second speaker is. The mood changes with the second speaker, it becomes lifeless and depressing.
    The two speakers seem related because the second speaker seems to juxtapose what the first speaker says. The second speaker seems to respond negatively to the first speaker. When the first speaker says “Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding a little life with dried tubers” (5-7) the second speaker responds by saying “And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, and the dry stone no sound of water” (23-24).
    I thought it was interesting listening to Eliot read the poem. Each voice gives a different mood to the text. After reading the blog in which you co-authored, it was interesting to see how people can make assumptions about the speaker’s personality by just listening to the tone in their voice. It is also interesting how a change in pitch can change the mood of the work.

    Like

    1. I liked hearing the changing pitches from the professor’s blog as well. And as for the identity of the second, I don’t know who it is either, but I have assumed it is a man. Not sure why, but the second passage sounds like something a man would say or think. I also think that the second speaker is speaker in a negative light to the first speaker, so it’s nice to read someone who agrees with me.

      Like

    2. I really enjoyed how you went as far to identify her name as Marie. Even though it may have been obvious, it honestly wasn’t something i thought much about. And i completely agree with you on the two different tones of the speakers, the first had a more upbeat approach as the second didn’t seem too enthusiastic on the matters.

      Like

    3. I agree with you, the first narrator is coveying a happy tone. While the second narrator does change the tone drastically even causing the reader to fill depressed about how short life can be. Both speakers are place to contradict one another, I belive it could be a symbol for ying and yang, opposites yet together they complete the whole picture.

      Like

  7. The speakers in this passage are a women having a conversation with her thoughts and then proceeds into her having a conversation with the man that works in the bar about a conversation she had with her friend Lil. In this passage an anxious or agitated mood seems to embody the woman speaker. For example, “My nerves are bad to-night, Yes, bad. Stay with me. “Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak. “What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? “I never know what you are thinking. Think” (111-14). This suggests that the women is speaking amongst her nervous thoughts. In the second half the same woman is talking about a conversation she had with her friend Lil. “Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart. He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you. To get yourself some teeth. He did I was there. You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you.” (141-147). This mood shifts to a past conversation which portrays a caring and friendship like mood.

    In this passage the author relates these two speakers together because in the first juxtaposed the woman in speaking inside her head to her inner thoughts, just as if we were reading her thoughts and in the second part she is interrupted by someone saying, “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME.” Then she goes on to talk to someone about the conversation she had with her friend. I enjoyed listening to Eliot read the poem because he gave me more insight on how the poem is actually supposed to be read. Most of the time when I read poems I don’t quite understand them so I usually have to go back multiple times to get the idea of what’s going on. However, Eliot sets the tone for this poem and changes his tone of voice between the speakers. After reading your blog post you co-authored, I found it very interesting how changing the voice to high pitched and fast pace changes the mood, tone, and experience all together. As you mentioned in the beginning about how we are accustomed to hearing auto toned vocalists in today’s society, I still find it strange to hear because it seems unrealistic. If Eliot’s poems were all recorded in a high pitched tone I wouldn’t want to listen to them because his way of writing is amazing but changing his voice would completely throw off the tone and experience of the poems.

    Like

    1. I have to say your interpretation of what is going on in this section (I chose the same for my write-up) really made me step back and re-evaluate my own interpretation. At first I thought the conversation that begins the passage was possibly between a man and woman, perhaps spouses. But ultimately, after reading your description, I realized that I had been completely wrong. It’s funny how easy it is to misread a poem, especially one as complex as The Wasteland. But your interpretation really helped me to look at the passage in a different light and appreciate it to a much fuller extent.

      Like

    2. I found it really interesting how you interrupt the poem. When I read the poem I concluded that the speakers we’re two different woman speaking about their marriage. I agree that on the first passage of the poem the woman did sound really paranoid in trying to have a conversation, and that she is not letting him have a chance to speak. I had to read the poem two times and I found that both woman had two different personalities because one sounded very controlling and the second sounded as she was worry about her marriage. Reading your response I can see why you interrupted both of the woman as one person, I really like how detailed you were on your description.

      Like

    3. My initial thoughts about lines 111-151 were that they were about a woman who had just been caught having an affair. I don’t really know why I arrived at this conclusion it was just a feeling I got. The woman is nervous, almost as if she suspects that maybe her husband knows something but she cannot verify if he does or if he doesn’t. The two speakers are at like a pub so I thought that maybe she arranged to meet her lover there so that they could talk about what they are going to do, precisely about how they should act in front of her husband. The man, her lover, doesn’t seem to be worried like she is. He basically tells her that they should act like nothing is going on. Then he mentions Lil’s story so I thought that maybe this was a similar situation. The woman’s husband was demobilized so now she has to end her affair, but she doesn’t know how to go about it. That’s what I thought at first but I might have been just reading to much into the situation. A lot of others are saying that an onlooker is eavesdropping on a couple having a conversation and that this couple is very discontent in what their relationship has turned into. That makes a lot more sense. The passage still juxtaposes the woman’s nervousness with the man’s almost indifferent behavior.

      Like

  8. 1. On A Game of Chess, there is two different stories taken place and both involved a married couple, one upper class and another lower class. The first passage of 111-138 the speaker is a upper class woman, whose marriage is caught in a dull and fading relationship. The women speaking is very aggressive in her voice and is questioning her husband. She’s not letting him response to what she’s saying, so he keeps quiet and think to himself. “What is that noise? The wind under the door. What is that noise now? What is the wind doing (117)?” The mood she illustrates in this line is that she is very paranoid and stressed out neurotic woman. The woman knows that her marriage is falling apart and the game of chess is the only thing to reduced their love and they can communicate to one another. Game of chess is the only thing that can bring intimacy to through an old lifeless chess of game. The second passage of the poem is 139-151, about woman Lil and her husband and she is speaking to friend in the bar. Lil is explaining to her friend that her husband is coming back from war, but story is always interrupted by the bartender. She is very frustrated in her marriage and she Albert gave her money so she can get new set of teeth, so she can be more attractive, “I can’t bear to look at you” (146). She is a struggling wife and is verbally abused. Her friend suggests that she should clean herself up when her husband because her husband came from war and threats her with the notion of sex. She has sense of dissatisfaction with life because fertility is the loss of beauty.

    2. The speakers juxtaposed passage to relate or connect each other is that both passage have allusion line that is reference line to Shakespeare. On the first passage, when the woman asks her husband what’s on his mind, he replies something about Shakespeare in a jazz song, “O O O O that Shakespearean Rag — It’s so elegant So intelligent” (128). The husband doesn’t give a direct answer to his wife so he uses the jazz song and his marriage is empty. Second passage, at the end of the poem Lil uses a line from Hamlet, “Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night” (172). This quote is used when Ophelia departing words before downing herself. The reason why T.S Eliot uses reference lines of Shakespeare because love can become tragic and there is unfulfilling relationship with men. T.S Eliot describes in this poem that marriage you are trapped and it is hard to escape and the only thing you can escape from it is death. This is quite scary to think about because how both stories have their marriage falling apart and they can’t do anything about it.

    3. Listening to Eliot poems where very interesting to read because in A Game of Chess there is different sense of dominance playing. For one the upper class woman seems controlling and she doesn’t let her husband answer and he lets her decide what to do. However, the lower class the woman seems to be worried about her husband because he insults her and her to be more attractive by giving her money to get new pair set of teeth. Which I believe was very insane because she is a struggling with the children she has and doesn’t have to time to look attractive. Eliot has different set of tones in the poem and the speaker changes throughout the poem which makes it more interesting to read. After reading your blog post co-authored, it was very interesting of the different tone it changes between the speakers. It gives an idea what the author is feeling when it is being read and you have this sense of connection with the author. I enjoy how it also gives us the idea the tone and pitch the author gives. I can understand the idea what author is trying to portray and an idea.

    Like

    1. It’s actually quite interesting that you arrived at the same interpretation of the initial section of the poem, where it seems the conversation is taking place between two different people, probably a married couple stuck in a loveless, tedious relationship. However, another student had the interpretation that it is instead a woman having a frantic conversation with herself, all in her mind. I re-evaluated my reading of the section and ultimately came to agree with her, and it goes to make the following, juxtaposing section that much more effective, where we get to see the woman speaking to someone other than herself in a much more self-assured, confident manner, as opposed to the frenetic, self-contained conversation she has with herself. At the end of the day, it’s unclear which interpretation is correct, but I think that is part of what makes a poem as complex as The Wasteland so entertaining to analyze.

      Like

  9. The speakers in lines one through thirty seems to be a woman named Marie and possibly a family member. They are discussing Marie’s childhood memory of sledding in winter with her cousin. Marie seems to be looking back on this memory with fondness as she states “winter kept us warm” (I. 5). This poses an interesting contrast with how she describes spring with contempt; Marie describes the flowers blooming as “breeding Lilacs out of dead land” (I. 1-2). The term “breeding” makes this process seem clinical and is defined as “production of young” in the Oxford English Dictionary. She then describes the snow of winter as life giving in lines six and seven which seems more loving. By describing the Spring time so clinically and the winter as nurturing, Marie displays a fondness for the winter time memory.
    The second speaker does not seem to hold the same fondness for this memory. The second speaker refers to Marie’s story as “a heap of broken images” and talks of dead trees giving no shelter to the beating sun (I. 22-23). The second speaker implies that Marie does not remember the full story. By saying the sun “beats” the second speaker is depicting a sense of misery that Marie did not experience. Because they both seem to be referencing the same winter seems that the speakers are family. I cannot tell whether they are siblings or cousins. I think the two passages were juxtaposed to show that one event can hold extremely different meanings to different people.
    I enjoyed listening to Eliot read the poem. I found it helpful. It was nice to have the poem read as the author intended and it helped me get a sense of the flow of the work. Listening to lines one and two in a different pitch and at a different speed changed how I perceived the tone of the poem. As was pointed out in the blog post, I was not expecting T.S. Eliot and I think that made me pay more attention to his reading. I found The Waste Land to be one of the more challenging poems to understand.

    Like

    1. I never thought of the two speakers as family members, so that is some interesting food for thought. I also didn’t think the two things they were talking about were the same thing, but reading what you wrote makes a lot of sense. Listening to the author read his poem was interesting for me as well because I love hearing the author read their poem because you can hear how they wanted it to be read. I think that is important, especially when it comes to a poem.

      Like

    2. I too thought a little about maybe the two speakers bring related in some since, it could be very well possible that the two are siblings. I enjoyed also being about to hear the tone and way that the author intended the poem to be heard. And i very much agree that The Waste Land to be a more challenging poem to understand.

      Like

    3. I also saw the first stanza as describing winter as a time of comfort and that the woman, Marie, longed for winter. Winter seemed to be a time of happiness for her. I did not think of them being family members or even speaking of the same event but having different views, however, that is a very interesting idea. It gives a new way of looking at those two passages that I did not see before.

      Like

  10. 1. In lines 1-30 the first speaker presented seems to be a woman who reminisces about her childhood. It seems that she is sharing these memories with an individual who is close to the first speaker.
    The first speaker is much more lively in her descriptions as she describes the different seasons of the place she is from with a light and hopeful mood. For example, she writes “Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire stirring” (2-3). Although there is some sort of barren land there is still hope presented within the different seasons as life still manages to make its way through. The first speaker also has this sense of nostalgia that is seen more with the juxtaposition of the second speaker.

    The second speaker, who appears to be close to the first, describes the same place but it is clear that some time has passed or that the sense of hope is no longer there. For example, the second speaker states “A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,/ And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,” (22-23). The land is not presented as one that can still give life. But instead the land is presented without hope and a sense of time has been placed on it. The withering of the land is more present and is not as vibrant as it is in the memories of the first speaker.

    2.The two speakers are clearly close to one another or at least share the common experience of contemplating death. The first speaker addresses death but there is life that comes from it. The first speaker states “In the mountains, there you feel free” (17). There is a freeing quality and a somewhat peaceful vibe to the first section of the poem.
    The second speaker however, focuses more on the feat of death and the inevitable. The speaker ends their section by stating “I will show you fear in a handful of dust” (30). This is clearly a juxtaposition of the first speaker.

    3.When I first listened to Eliot read his poems I had a hard time following along because I wanted to move faster than he did in certain areas. I had to force myself to be patient and really allow Eliot to guide me though the poem. I felt like it gave me a different sense of the poem and really brought it to life.
    In the article, I found it most interesting how different a poem can sound and the different emotions it can evoke when it is read by different people. It really does effect the initial interpretation I think.

    Like

    1. I too agree with you on listening to Eliot reading the poem. It was really hard for me to follow along with him at first, but I played it a second time and let him guide me at his pace which then brought it to life for me as well.

      Like

  11. -I chose passage 1-30 and the first speaker is a woman named Marie, reminiscing of her childhood. Her memories of childhood seemed to be enjoyable, setting a rather elated tone. “And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled” Marie continues to describe her sledding experience, frightened at first, but free once she sled down. The second speaker seemed to almost be a sibling also speaking of the childhood, but with a much more realistic view. “And I will show you something different either”. It seems as if the second speaker is not remembering the same childhood as Marie.
    -“Memory and desire, stirring” made me think that maybe Marie has portrayed the happy memory of her childhood that she wished had taken place more often. Many times in life, humans will block out negative times and hold on dearly to those few happy memories, maybe this is the case for Marie. The second speaker however, sets Marie straight by contradicting her memories. At first I almost thought that maybe the second speaker was talking about the harsher reality of adulthood compared to the innocence of childhood, but after reading multiple times I’ll stick with my other idea of them having opposing views of their childhood. Marie has a more nostalgic tone and the tone immediately changes to angst when speaker two begins.
    -Hearing Eliot read the poem made me realize that a lot of what we take and understand from poems depends on how we read it. Even your blog post proved that the way we read it can change our perspectives. Tone, mood, pitch, speed can all change the experience we have reading a poem.

    Like

    1. I find your point of view very interesting.Your idea that both of the speakers can just be talking about their different upbringings can be true. Both the speakers have very opposite opinions. I agree with you about the differences in how we read poems has an affect on how we understand it.

      Like

    2. I really enjoy your description and how well detailed you were. Your interruption is really well about how people can block the bad memories and hold on to the precious ones because they are the ones that matter the most. I strongly agree on that both of the speakers have very different opinions and people do have different views when they read a poem.

      Like

  12. In passage five, (lines 215-256), the speaker is Tiresias, blind and double-sexed by a previous encounter with Jove and Juno (13). He recounts an instance of watching a young woman, a typist, at home from work. When her husband (or perhaps merely her lover) arrives, they engage in their usual pleasantries and evening ritual. When he advances upon her sexually, she is as passive as Tiresias had guessed she would be. Tiresias is clearly sympathetic to the woman, noting the husband/lover (a clerk) with disdain (he describes him as “the young man carbuncular” in line 231; the footnotes for this line reveal that a carbuncle is an infected boil, and carbuncular refers to “pustular, pimply,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, thus he is clearly as unsettling as such descriptors). While there is little indication of struggle or despair on behalf of the typist, (Eliot describes her reaction in lines 241-242, “His vanity requires no response; And makes a welcome of indifference”) the scene is lacking in any of the joyous passion that may describe a love scene. The typist’s last words, expressed as the last line in a tight rhyme, certify this indifference and reflect the disdain of the speaker: “’Well now that’s done; and I’m glad it’s over’” (13). She then engages in the rest of her evening ritual, alone, and the passage is, in contrast to the title of the poem’s third part, cold.

    The juxtaposition of this passage appears to be rooted in the difference between the two “women,” the typist who is clearly sexually attractive enough to seduce “a Bradford millionaire,” and the “old man with wrinkled dugs,” whose saggy breasts are apparently worth mentioning more than once. Tiresias seems to connect with the dejected woman, whose lover pays her “one final patronizing kiss,” a moment that Tiresias had earlier foresuffered. This experience creates the connection between the two women. It is uncertain whether this is a moment of suffering because it is the end of their union, or because their relationship is so cold that it resembles death (13).

    I found Eliot’s reading of the poem to be enjoyable and stimulating, mainly because it wasn’t particularly theatrical but it was still an effectively emotional rendering of the work. The Sounding Out! blog post was an interesting complement to the reading, especially in the discussion of the ethics of deformance and artists’ work. I admit that I typically imagine poetry in a solemn or serious tone, so I often have a dreary association of the poet. The analysis of the implications of voice and inflection helped me gain a better understanding of how to listen to poetry readings.

    Like

    1. I agree with everything you mentioned about our shared passage. Tiresias does a great job of making the reader sympathize with the woman from an outsider’s perspective, which could be a good or bad thing. You mentioned that he most likely felt a connection with this woman since she appeared dispassionate about her lover, but I thought that perhaps he was pushing his own feelings on a scene he shouldn’t be witnessing. He might have just been biased from his own experiences. I too often look at poets as being dreary and maybe even outcasts, misunderstood by society, which is ridiculous since most of the famous poets during the Restoration were the most popular people in the king’s court. Professor MacArthur’s post was enlightening about unconscious prejudices.

      Like

  13. The speaker in 215-256 is a man that is witnessing a private act between a woman and a man during the evening. In the word choices that are applied shows that the speaker has ill feelings towards the man and how he acted with the woman. In 231 and 232, it is stated “the young man carbuncular” and “A small agents clerk” lets the audience know that not only does the man have an infected boil but he doesn’t have a good paying job either. Both the speaker and the woman want to escape the scene with the man at least when it comes to the sex part. The woman is a shell of herself as she lets the young man have his way with her even though she wasn’t too sure she wanted him to touch her in the first place. Thus, some of the reasons the speaker doesn’t want to witness the act between the two and uses words like on line 238 and end of 239 “Which still unreproved if undesired” and at the end of the next line “he assaults at once” and “His vanity requires no response” 241. Letting the readers know that despite the man knowing the woman is not really into he still go on with the act and doesn’t care that she is not responding to his touches.

    I believe the passages are juxtaposed because they are both about the woman before and after the sexual encounter. The speaker is almost in a way telling his feeling about what he seeing in her story; in the second part, it is the woman telling her own feelings about the encounter in her own words. When the two passages breaks up the woman words are the break between the passages before he goes on. The speaker talks about how he feels about how the man looks to how he doesn’t want to watch although he has to and how the man doesn’t care that his touches are unwanted. then when the man leaves the woman notes that she is glad that it was over and get lost in her thoughts once more.

    I believe listening to Eliot read the poem helped give me understandings on how to read it myself. And when I was able to read it how he intended it to be read it helped me see the whole picture of the reading more. When he made emphasis on certain words it in a sense meant for the reader to look more into this word and see why it is important for his tone to get higher there.

    Like

    1. I found it interesting how you drew the sexuality out of it. With this particular work I believe there is a lot of allowance for interpretation and I find yours interesting. I like how you identified the juxtaposition of before and after the act and identified as to what states of mind the woman would be in considering both scenarios.

      Like

  14. 1. In the passage covered in lines 111-151, it seems at first as though two speakers are having a conversation at a rather frantic pace. The dialogue bounces bounces back and forth with no pause and, in the actual structure of the poem, very little in the way of punctuation. This can sometimes make it unclear who is saying what, which I believe is very intentional in maintaining this frantic, almost manic tone. Though it’s not made explicitly clear who the two speaking are, it can be inferred from the nature of their dialogue that they are perhaps the same person, having a frustrated conversation with her own thoughts. The mood grows continuously darker as the conversation progresses; when asked what they are thinking, one responds “I think we are in rats’ alley, Where the dead men lost their bones” (115-16). which conjures up very striking images of death and decay. The second sub-passage seems to be a woman, perhaps the same woman having the conversation in her own mind, telling someone (maybe the audience directly) about her friend Lil’s struggles with her husband Albert and their inability to have children. The woman recounts her advice to Lil, stating that “if you don’t give it him, there’s others will,” (150), referring to her ability or lack thereof to produce a child for her husband. There’s a certain knowing confidence in her tone, as though she’s been through something similar and trusts her words as pure fact.
    2. I think these two passages are juxtaposed the way that they are to show a woman stuck in her mind and then contrast that with the same woman being more extroverted with her thoughts, telling the story about Lil and Albert. In her mind she is frantic and unsure, questioning herself constantly, but when telling her story, as mentioned above, she seems to maintain a sort of confidence in her advice or admonition to Lil. It serves to represent the way our minds can work; though we project confidence and self-assurance to others, and want to believe it ourselves, often we are stuck in our own minds, perpetually unsure, asking ourselves questions we can’t possibly answer.
    3. Listening to Eliot himself read The Wasteland was a very valuable thing for me, personally. With poetry, especially something as seemingly obtuse as The Wasteland, it can be easy to sort of zone out as I’m reading, getting lost in the complicated verse and diction. But when I am able to hear it read with specific intonation, the way it was intended to be read by the author, it goes a long way in holding my attention and keeping things intriguing. However, your article gave me a lot of insight into how this thinking can be flawed. As I sat down to write out my answers to the section I analyzed, I of course went through numerous times and read the section to myself. This time around, I caught things in the text I hadn’t before and was able to consider subtleties in the subtext of the passage I didn’t have the luxury to, listening to Eliot move through it in his droning tone. Overall, I think that there is value to hearing something read multiple ways, but also spending time reading it to yourself. Something about digesting the words at your own pace once it’s already been introduced to you initially really goes a long way in understanding the work as a whole.

    Like

    1. I enjoyed reading about what you thought of Eliot’s rendition of his work. I agree, the author – with total knowledge of his word choices and intent – is able in inflect and maneuver his delivery to be in accordance with the true message at the core of his work. I, too, agree that most of the value, though, lies in reading it for yourself and allowing ample time to comprehend the material.

      Like

  15. In lines 1-30 the speaker is a woman named Marie. She is describing a memory of her and her cousins as children. “winter kept us warm covering / earth in forgetful snow “(5-6) Marie appears to love the winter time because it brought happiness. The speaker describes the mountains as a place where she felt at peace, “In the mountains, there you feel free”(17) The speakers seems to be missing this feeling and is longing to feel it again.
    The second speaker appears to be speaking against the first speaker. I am not sure that the second speaker is a person or it can possibly be death speaking. “you cannot say, or guess, for you know only / a heap of broken dreams” (21,22). It almost seems as though it is telling the speaker that it does not know what it is like on the other side of life. She only has her own perspective from her memories.
    The passages are juxtaposed because the first speaker is speaking of life and happiness, while the second is speaking of bitterness. The first speaker is speaking of her happy memories with her cousins playing in the snow and drinking coffee, and enjoying life, in contrast the second speaker tells the first speaker that “it” would “show fear in a handful of dust”, which resembles death.

    I enjoyed listening to Eliot read the poem because when I hear him reading the poem to me I feel like it gave me a better insight and understanding of how the poem was intended to be read. I definitely prefer to hear the poets audio over reading the poem myself because I think it really makes a difference on the message that the poet is trying to get across. After reading your blog I found it very interesting because I do tend to read everything in the same tone whether it is a poem or a book, rather then playing with different pitches.

    Like

    1. I enjoyed your perspective of the poem. I feel like I need to go back and reread it with your comments in mind. For some reason I was under the impression that lines 1-30 were several speakers, but after seeing that so many people read it as one speaker, I think I misunderstood.

      Like

    2. I like your analysis of the first 30 passages. They realy changed my outlook on them. I also like how you see the second person as death, it makes sense. I also agree with you on listening to the poet read the poem over myself doing it especially in this context with him reading the German parts. Although it was a little tedious to me the first time around listening to him read because of the pace he was reading at, I nevertheless enjoyed him reading the poem.

      Like

    3. I like your idea on how the winter season brought Marie happiness. She was feeling nostalgic. I also thought that the second speaker seemed to be speaking against the first speaker. The second speaker does sound bitter. The passage may be talking about death because it sounds depressing when compared to the first passage.

      Like

  16. The first speaker in the passage 43-76, is the fortune teller and this is proven when she starts reading out her tarot cards and explaining them to the customer, she then concludes by telling them that death is near so they should “fear death by water” (55). The second speaker is the person whom is being told their fortune and once that has ended he experiences of what is assumed many people trying to jump off a bridge plummeting to their death and trying to stop of them from doing so. The mood of this passage is clearly mysterious since the customer is assumed to be anxious of what the future lays ahead.

    The speakers in the juxtaposed passage seem to connect each other by the fortune teller symbolizing the future and what different outcomes it can have. The customer symbolizes the hope we have to change the future’s terrible outcomes, as he does when he tries to save someone from jumping off the bridge. The passages are juxtaposed because it shows how one is not set (future) and how the other can change the course of what the supposedly path has set to occur.

    To be honest I wasn’t fond of listening to Eliot reading the poem because as I was following along I wanted to read faster but Eliot was more calm and collected, but I knew I needed to be patient and once that happened I understood the poem. Before reading by myself I couldn’t piece together what the passage meant since I was in a hurry to finish but everything became clear when I heard the audio. About the blog that you co-authored, I found it quite interesting that “we hear speech better when we expect it, and when it matches our specific expectations”. The second time I listened to the audio of Eliot reading the poem it made more sense since I knew what the recording sounded like.

    Like

    1. I too found it difficult to read along with Eliot, however I felt that the tempo that he read the poem was helpful in attempting to understand the material better. I left time to envision the depicted scenes. You are absolutely correct that the audio aids in understanding the passages better.

      Like

  17. 5.) 215 – 256

    T.S. Eliot takes an interesting approach toward the sexual assault scene in lines 215 to 256 of The Waste Land, by having Tiresias, a blind prophet often remembered by his role in Dante’s Inferno, as one of the three speakers in this juxtaposing passage. The other two are the man and woman who have non-consensual intercourse. The main speaker here is Tiresias who is the narrator of this act of aggression. The reader can get the sense of this being an act of aggression by the language Eliot utilizes to depict the man and the response the woman gives him when he makes his advances. The very first lines of this section Eliot writes, “At the violet hour, when the eyes and back / Turn upward from the desk…” (215-216) creates the dark setting the rest of the section takes place in. The reader immediately begins to think about dark purple colors—like the color of fresh bruises—creating an atmosphere on ominous activity or violent actions.

    The man is the focus in the first passage—lines 215 to 246. The woman is the focus of the significantly shorter second passage—lines 247 to 256. The man is the first character the readers meet; he is ending his day at the office and needs to let off some steam—for lack of a better phrase—and whose “human engine waits / Like a taxi throbbing, waiting,” (216-217). He is described as “carbuncular” (231)—which is a boil, usually on the face, like a pimple—but Eliot does not specify that it is his face with the carbuncular problems; thus, allowing the reader to infer that the woman sees the man as a bothersome, unsightly, and painful lump she must deal with from time to time. The woman comes into the picture during the line 222, where she is cleaning up and preparing for her guest—the pimply man. The connection between these two is the assumption that the man is visiting the woman for a service. She could be a prostitute or a girlfriend whose love was long lost but they are not intimate. The conversations were boring, his caresses rejected or met with indifference and there is no hint of any romantic feelings for one another at all. This idea is further demonstrated with the juxtaposing second passage—the woman’s passage. This second passage is saturated with repressed feeling and a sense of urgency to forget what had just happened; “Hardly aware of her departed lover; / Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass,” (250-251), she detached herself from the situation and her company to such an extent that the man’s absence almost went unnoticed. The reader gets the repressed feeling with the second line stating “her brain” allows a single “half-formed thought to pass” but she cannot allow herself to think too much about the situation because she knows of the strong negative feelings that come with rape. The pacing she does in this passage creates a tone of urgency thus, making her action of putting “a record on the gramophone” (256) as mindless and the music is meant to act like white noise that can distract her from the situation.

    Listening to Eliot read the poem was incredibly entertaining. His change in tone and his choice of emphasis in his voice for certain lines greatly differed from the choices I made when I read the poem out loud. I thought the blog post from Sounding Out! was interesting, particularly the bit about using vocal deformance to “recover the crucial oral components of poetry,” because I love going to Downtown Bakersfield and listening to people perform their poetry on Friday nights. There is a power when the author of a poem reads their work out loud and adds an exciting layer to the piece.

    Like

    1. The invocation of the image of bruises from the phrase “the violet hour” is a really interesting interpretation. I admit that I didn’t read the scene as an assault, although the woman’s silence could definitely be interpreted as lack of consent. I had assumed that the mechanical nature of the woman’s actions before and after her encounter with the clerk was just the result of habit and ritual; however, if this is because this is not the first time she has been assaulted, the phrase “the violet hour” has a much darker connotation than I had initially interpreted. I was also surprised at how entertaining Eliot’s reading of the poem was.

      Like

  18. 1) Who are the speakers in each of the juxtaposed passages, what are they speaking about (and to whom, if there is an explicit audience), and how do specific word choices, in context, illustrate the mood of each speaker? What is that mood? (Don’t feel that you need to identify them precisely. Say what you can infer about each speaker.)

    The first speakers in the poem would be Marie, she is reminiscing on childhood memories. She is describing the upcoming winter season. April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain” (1-4). She talks about times playing in the snow with her cousin, “he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened”. (14-15). Words such as “colonnade” which means “a series of columns placed at regular intervals” (OED) added a much more sophisticated and pretentious tone to the poem. “And went on in sunlight” is also a very eloquent and somewhat pompous way to say they were walking in the day.

    2) How do the speakers in the juxtaposed passages seem to relate or connect to each other, to the extent that they do, and why do you think the two passages are juxtaposed?
    In the first passage towards the end of the stanza, Marie is reminiscing about a memory with her cousin. “My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
    Marie, hold on tight. And down we went” This phrase alone invites another character into the plot and allows the audience to visualize a snowy white scene with nothing but pure content from the characters. I feel as though the descriptive imagery such as, “With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour” really adds to the poetic feel.

    3) How did you respond to listening to Eliot read the poem? Then, for fun, read and listen to this blog post I co-authored in the sound studies blog Sounding Out!, and let me know your thoughts about it. How might it influence how you listen to Eliot and other poets in this course?
    I really enjoyed listening to Eliot read the poem because it allowed me to hear the various voices being portrayed. I think I might actually prefer listening to poetry that’s said out loud because it becomes easier to follow along and comprehend. After reading your blog post it only pointed out how caught up we might get as readers in how a character is “suppose” to sound. The differences in tone and pitch really changes the dynamic of the poem itself.

    Like

  19. Lines 43 to 76 contain two distinct conversations: one revolving around a fortune teller and another of two men meeting on the London Bridge. In the first portion about the fortune teller, I read it in three voices. One is speaking high praise of the fortune teller calling her “the wisest woman in Europe” (45) and “Belladonna, the Lady of Rocks” (49) while the other voice offers up almost sarcastic undermining comments between the praise such as counteracting her being a clairvoyant by saying “had a bad cold, nevertheless” (44) and referring to her as “the lady of situations” (50) in response to the Lady of Rocks comment, and the other is Madame Sosostris herself. They go back and forth throughout the lines, but for some reason, I imagine the last two lines of their conversation “Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:/ one must be so careful these days” (58-59) to be spoken together. I read it as Madame Sosostris’s warning to Mrs. Equitone and the disbelieving voice warning against believing in things like clairvoyants and horoscopes. It’s a very generic horoscope that anyone could predict without a thought which I feel lends to the undermining voice and them showing how it is just nonsense and anyone can make such predictions. I also couldn’t help but notice Madame Sosostris sounds a lot like so-so which I found pretty funny because nobody wants a so-so fortune teller. The second half of the passages is a conversation between two men on the London Bridge. They obviously know each other and were together in “the ships of Mylae” (70), but the full extent of their history isn’t revealed. The conversation seems like it’s starting off well enough, but one man quickly accuses the other of having a corpse in his garden, and unsurprisingly, the accused man reacts poorly and is quite angry with him.

    At first, I couldn’t quite figure out what connected these passages together, and it is probably a bit of a stretch, but I do think I’ve found the connection, or at least a potential connection. I believe the men in the second part of the passages are actually the ones Madame Sosostris’s predictions were about. The card she draws is “the drowned Phoenician sailor” (47) and the two men were sailors or at least had something to do with ships since when the one man greets Stetson refers to him as “you who were with me in the ships at Mylae” (70). It’s especially odd since, although my knowledge of tarot is limited to say the least, I am pretty positive there is no sailor in traditional decks. Another part of her prediction is “fear death by water” (55), and on my first read through, I assumed she meant drowning, but now I am wondering if the “by” is referring to the location as in death near water. The conversation of the men is taking place on the London Bridge which runs over water, and Eliot also uses “watery” words for the rest of the passage. Madame Sosostris says “I see crowds of people” (56) while the man who’s point of view the rest of the passage is told in describes his surroundings with “A crowd flowed over London Bridge” (62) and he also uses the term “flowed up the hill” (66) which is odd since things typically do not flow upwards. I believe the death part of her warning is fairly obvious since they are talking about the corpse he has buried in his garden, but I assume it is a metaphorical corpse, of course. The way I read it, it seems to me as if these men were in some sort of war together and were now living in a post war London. Between the lines “I had not thought the dead had undone so many” (63), “each man fixed his eyes before his feet”(65), and “with a dead sound on the final stroke of nine” (68,) you just get the sense that everyone is depressed and defeated by whatever happened prior. As for the corpse in his garden, people tend to bury those types of memories and not acknowledge the things they did or the horrific things they saw, so I imagine the corpse might be a reference to the man metaphorically burying those “corpses” of those lost, or possibly the man he was, in favor of ignoring it and pretending it never happened in attempts to move on and bury the hatchet so to speak while the other man obviously does not appreciate it. However, all that being said, I don’t feel like either of the men were the ones Madame Sosostris was actually giving the fortune to. I also feel like that could be a bit of a joke if her name sounding like so-so was intentional, because technically, her predictions were right, but they were just given to the wrong person.

    Like

    1. I think your guess and analysis about who the two men were was more insightful and made more sense than my own guess. I thought that the two men were perhaps personifications of Madame Sosostris’s Phoenician sailor card. It makes much more sense that Sosostris tells fortunes poorly and has given someone else the two men’s fortunes. I imagine Elliot did not think too highly of fortune tellers or gypsies.

      Like

  20. 1. The first bit of 1-30 seemed to be about a woman talking about her childhood. The lines “He said, Marie,/ Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.” Talking about a memory she had with her cousin. Also, the talk of seasons changing appears to be of important in change as she looks back on these memories. And the second speaker seemed to me to be as if she was talking about someone close to her, possibly a cousin of some sort. I got the feeling that the second speaker was somehow against the first speaker. Maybe they had a huge conflict in how they feel on things. Or it could just be that the second speaker is just unhappy with the way her life is. The two conflict in their feelings, like a war of contention.
    2.The two speakers seem related because the second speaker seems to juxtapose what the first speaker says. The first speaker is happy and seems to be rejoicing in her memories She comments on being scared and then realizes the joy in the activity. and the second speaker seems to take her words and put a negative connotation to them.
    3. Listening to the audio both helped and didn’t help, I enjoyed listening to the breaks and how the words flowed, and how he intended the words to come across. and I enjoyed the switch between speakers. But at the same time it was confusing because of the quality of the audio, which isn’t the fault of anyone but after reading the blog I do tend to kind of read poems with a solid tone, which mostly is due to the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy poetry, but it opened my eyes.

    Like

    1. I agree, the first speaker is happy and projects a positive outlook on life, while the second speaker shows a negative outlook. While reading, it does seem like the second speaker is projecting her/his thoughts against the first speaker. It’s very interesting how the author did this and I really enjoyed it. I also had two sides of listening to the audio. I liked it because that’s how it’s meant to be read but I also didn’t like it because of the quality.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The first speaker in passage 1-18 appears to be a woman named Marie speaking about the pleasantries of new life that comes with spring and budding flowers to a friend. She seems to be reminiscing about her childhood, and joyful times that she spent with her family and friends. The mood of this first passage feels melancholy, for example she says “And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, my cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, and I was frightened. He said, ‘Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free.” Her mention of the freedom that was available in the mountains gives the audience the impression that she enjoyed spending her time there, and that this is a particularly pleasant memory to recall. I was unable to decipher the gender or any other details about the speaker in passages 19-30, outside of the fact that they seem to have had a difficult life and there wasn’t much hope in their current state. In passage 25-29 the speaker says, “And the dry stone no sound of water. Only there is shadow under this rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), and I will show you something different from either your shadow at morning striding behind you”. This passage gives the impression of darkness, and hopelessness.
    The speakers in the juxtaposed passages may be engaging in conversation during the poem. The second speaker seems to be responding to the lighthearted joy of the first speaker by describing the dry and desolate reality that they are in and thus deflating the first speaker’s happiness. Both passages are opposites of each other, with the first passage referring to the spring month of April “breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire”, and the second passage describing “where the sun beats, and the dead tree gives no shelter”. The first speaker seems to be relishing in the bursts of new life around her, whereas the second speaker is describing a wasteland of dry, dead things. I think the two passages may have been juxtaposed to show how two people can have starkly different backgrounds and life experiences, and therefore can have two very different outlooks on the life around them.
    Listening to T.S. Eliot read the passages made the poem come alive for me. I enjoyed being able to hear the tone, rhythm, and flow of the poem in the exact way that the poet intended it to be heard. I felt the same way regarding the blog that you co-authored. Hearing poetry read aloud by the poet themselves can change the entire perception of the imagery for the listener; the variance in tempo and emphasis placed on certain passages is very important for the listener to hear so that they might better understand the intent of the poet.

    Like

  22. In lines 111-151 it seems to me that Eliot is speaking to someone in a pub or similar type of place; halfway through the passage there is a call for closing time, “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME” (Eliot 10). The structure of the conversation leads me to believe that Eliot is talking to a woman, although no name is provided. This other speaker is telling Eliot, “Speak to me. Why do you never Speak? Speak” (Eliot 9). It sounds oddly familiar to conversations I have heard many couples have when they feel communication could improve between them, women are usually the ones who wish for more intimacy through conversation. The two are talking about the way things are; more like contemplating life actually. Then they start talking about Albert and Lil, his wife, who he very bluntly told that if she did not fix herself for Albert so that she could please him, Albert would find someone else who would. The dialogue for the woman creates a mood of urgency and worry, “My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me. Speak to me” (Eliot 9). She speaks fast and often repeats herself. Eliot on the other hand seems very calm, like he has everything planned out, “The hot water at ten. And if it rains, a closed car at four. And we shall play chess, pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock on the door” (Eliot 9). He is not as worried as his companion and that gives him a kind of eerie tone.
    The two speakers in the juxtaposed passages seem to relate to each other through shared information. I think that the passage is juxtaposed because maybe this information they share is sensitive and most likely a secret. She’s nervous and doesn’t really know how or what to do the next day, hence her nervous behavior. He on the other hand, is calm. He basically tells her, we will get up tomorrow and play chess. Which can mean like, life goes on, act like nothing is going on because there is nothing to worry about.
    Listening to Eliot read the poem made it more of an experience than just a poem. It was great. His voice got loud and quieter in all of the right places. When he started to get, louder I was almost expecting there to be sound effects. His pronunciation was very clear and the pace at which he was reading added to the dramatic flair of the poem. In one of my journalism courses we talked about how broadcasters sometimes elongate words, change the volume of their voices, pause, or read faster for effect and I think Eliot utilized all of those elements at some point.
    Sounding Out! made me self-aware of how it impacts the work. If T.S Eliot had read the poem in that high-pitched voice that sounded like an “elderly woman,” there would be no way I could take him seriously, the poem would not have had the same effect. When reading other poems I think it would be helpful to try to read them in different tones, change your voice.

    Like

  23. 1) It seems that the speakers in lines 43-72 involve the dialogue between Madame Sosostris, a famous clairvoyant, and a customer who wants to have their tarot card read. Assumingly, this person is a man, because the clairvoyant asked for them to relay a message towards a Mrs. Equitone. The man initially starts with the narration in this stanza, showing her respect towards Madame Sosostris saying that she “is known to be the wisest woman in Europe” (45). Right immediately after, it switches to the voice of the clairvoyant herself, showing the man his reading. I would call the mood quite calm, but turning somber as soon as death is mentioned. The man turns depressed, “had not thought death had undone so many”, with “short and infrequent” sighs as he walks home.

    2) They seem to relate to each other due to the clairvoyant asking the man to relay a message towards perhaps an acquaintance of Madam Sosostris. There is quite a juxtaposition when it comes to the status of the man and the clairvoyant, as the man seems to be a sailor, as hinted by him yelling at a man named Stetson, “You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!” (70). On the other hand, Madam Sosostris is quite respected, as evidenced by the presumed sailor man, explicitedly said to be “the wisest woman in Europe” (45). Further evidence that the man could be a sailor is the card that the clairvoyant drew as well, “the drowned Phoenician Sailor” (47). This is supported by the sailor’s reaction, who had “pearls that were his eyes” (48), showing that it had quite a lot of significance to him.

    3) I think that listening to Eliot read the poem definitely helped understand the voices better than reading it by myself. I would say that his tone however, felt quite snobbish, as your article pointed out. I think it isn’t necessarily bad to know what the voice of the poet was, but either way, it definitely is eye opening. Most of it is assumptions, so we can’t exactly say if that is actually the case. What this really shows is that the mood of a poem can greatly change depending on the tone performed, and “The Waste Land” is no exception to this.

    Like

  24. 1. I decided to answer the questions for lines 1-30 of The Waste Land. This is my first time reading T.S. Eliot and so far I enjoy his writing. I also am not very familiar with poetry in general. I tend to get a little nervous when asked to analyze poetry but I will do my best. There are several speakers in the beginning of The Waste Land. The first speaker is found in lines 1-11. This speaker is speaking of the seasons and how it effects them. They mention German landscapes such as the Hofgarten and the Starnbergersee.
    I am not so sure about the next speaker. Line 12 is completely in German but I feel like it could be tied in with the first speaker because of the mention of German places in Lines 1-11. If it is a different speaker, this second speaker could be the other person mentioned in the very beginning. In line five, the first speaker says, “Winter kept us warm.” The “us” mentioned by the first speaker makes me wonder who they are talking about. I used Google translate to help me understand line 12, “I am not a Russian woman, from ‘Lithuania’, really German.” I understand that this might not be a reliable translation, but from what I can gather it is a woman explaining that she is German and not Russian.
    The third speaker goes by the name of Marie in Lines 13-17. She speaks of a childhood memory of feeling frightened going down a mountain on a sled. After her cousin took her on the sled her feelings changed, “In the mountains, there you feel free” (Line 17). Line 18 doesn’t make much sense to me through the voice of Marie. I think it might be another speaker, or a continuation of the first speaker. The short phrases seem very comparable to the first speaker in my opinion.
    Lines 19-30 appear to be one speaker. This speaker seems to be a powerful or wise being. They reference someone as, “Son of man” in line 20, which would mean that they aren’t a son of man. This speaker seems to be able to reveal knowledge to the listener in an otherworldly way. I get the impression that this speaker might be a mythological creature of some sort.
    2. All of the speakers seem to mention nature in their narratives. In lines 2-4, the first speaker says, “Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.” The first speaker describes the deadness of winter showing through the new beginnings of spring. The fifth speaker describes a similar image in lines 23-24, “And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,/ And the dry stone no sound of water.” There is this common theme of the lack of the decay and lack of beauty that can be found in nature. It’s a sort of pessimistic approach to writing about nature.
    3. I listened to the poem before I read it and I did not catch that there were multiple speakers. After reading it myself, I realized that there were multiple speakers and I gave them different voices in my head as I read. The article attached to this question really opened my eyes to how important all of the elements in the human speech are. I personally like reading each speaker in the poem with a difference voice, but there’s something interesting about listen to T.S. Eliot read it also. When he reads it, it seems like one person with many personalities or several speakers with the same voice. It’s very interesting to me. I enjoyed the article a lot. I never realized how speech is connected to sight.

    Like

    1. I think it is interesting that you contemplate whether there are two different speakers or if it is just one. I too had this same struggle. At first I thought it could be the same person but an older version of that individual contemplating death as they come closer to it. But then I settled with the interpretation that the two were simply close in relation and not the same individual.

      Like

  25. In “The Waste Land” author T.S. Elliot does not adhere to a set structure or rhyme scheme in his poem, rather he flows from style to style in a method known as free verse. He also involves many different narrators, or speakers, throughout. These tendencies can be seen in lines 1-30. The first speaker is a woman reminiscing upon her childhood, through a self-recalled lens. Elliot tends to include symbology in this poem, and in it the woman speaker is attaching a memory from her childhood to each season. For example, the speaker says that “Winter kept us warm, covering
    Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
    A little life with dried tubers.” These words means that the woman is recalling how the earth is renewed with snow and rain in the winter, thus bringing forth new life in the spring. This reminiscent behavior displayed by the speaker sets off a nostalgic mood. The next speaker is polarizing, as the mood drastically shifts to worrisome and uneasy. The second speaker is also thought to be a woman, in a room decorated with fancy furniture and excess. She appears to be worried for the immediate future, and a man, possibly her husband, walks into the room. As they begin to speak, he asks her to tell him what she is thinking. Without saying aloud, she thinks: “I think I think we are in rats’ alley
    Where the dead men lost their bones.” This could mean that the couple is located in a war-torn location, and that they could be in danger at any moment. This thought is reinforced when she is frightened by the tiniest things, like wind blowing under the door. I think these two speakers are juxtaposed to make a point that war could change someone’s mood and threaten their well-being at any moment. This sudden shift in tone exemplifies this shift in emotions.
    I think listening to Elliot narrate his poem introduces a wider grasp on how it should be interpreted. He reads it in a way that the poem is meant to be read, given that he himself wrote it. The tone, narrators, and context are better understood.
    Your blog pertaining to Elliot and his works helped me to better understand his use of speed and rhyme shifts in the lines. Your insist that listening to the author read his poem personally better helps someone to interpret the poem as it was meant to be. It is important to include thier perspective, as they will always have a complete grasp of what the poem is truly about. Listening to the author read his poem at the correct pace also helps to understand which lines are stressed and therefore more important. In contrast, his voice also helps to identify which lines don’t need as much thought and excessive interpretation.

    Like

  26. 1. In lines 1-30, the speaker in this passage seems to be a woman reflecting on a past memory she had with a cousin. The memory starts off pleasant, reminiscing on an innocent moment with her cousin. Then as the speaker continues, the passage seems to become darker stating, ” I will show you death in a handful of dust” in line 30. 2.The speakers in the passage seem to relate to each other through past memories as well. The passages also seem to connect when reading the different parts because in part 1 there is a description of London looking quite hazy with a layer of brown covering it, and then in part 2 there is a mentioning of rats in line 115 in which London is known to have. But, it is a little hard otherwise for me to see how some of the characters relate. 3. Listening to T.S. Eliot read the poems was very interesting. It was kind of at a slow pace, making it quite relaxing, but hearing him read the German phrases really interests me.

    Like

  27. In this poem, lines 1-30, the first speaker is identified as a woman named Marie. Marie exudes a feeling of happiness as she reflects on childhood memories. Furthermore, you can tell that Marie has a positive outlook on life that allows her to transform negative memories into positive ones. She notices that the harshest month is able to produce beautiful flowers, and how the rain drenched dull roots when she states “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land” and “stirring dull roots with spring rain” (1-4). As she continues to reminisce, she turns a frightening memory into a pleasant one, once again supporting my earlier claim to her having a positive outlook on life. This is supported by the following line “And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, and I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free”. This passage also creates a connection between Marie and her cousin. Furthermore, it can be seen as a bridge which links the first speaker to the second.
    The second speaker does not have a positive outlook like Marie. In fact, they seem to be total opposites. The second speaker does not find beauty in nature like Marie did and this is seen in the following statement “ A heap of broken images where the sun beats, and the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, and the dry stone no sound of water” (22-24). The second speaker is also in contrast with Marie’s because he/she gives off a feeling of hopelessness. This speaker seems like he has nothing to look forward to and is ready to give up on life when he/she states “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”.
    I really enjoyed listening to this poem read out loud. It provided clarity by introducing me to a few parts of the poem that I didn’t give much thought to when I initially read this poem. It also helps to hear the speaker change. In addition, while reading your article, It was interesting to hear how tone and pitch can completely change speakers mood.

    Like

    1. Yes, I completely agree with your response. When I first read lines 1-30 I also thought that Maria had a positive outlook on life and the other speaker had a negative outlook on life. They truly are polar opposites and I think that’s why T.S. Elliot wrote it that way. He shows a contrast on different individuals and how they see life.

      Like

    2. I chose 111-151 and I felt one speaker was very anxious and the other was like your second one. Very dull and depressed sounding or maybe even irritated. Maybe your second person is the same one as my second person.

      Like

  28. The passage I chose to focus on was passage 215-256. The scene is narrated by a man, self-identifying as Tiresias, a prophet from Greek mythology. Tiresias is said to have been transformed into a woman for a period of time, and represents a theme of all women are one woman. Eliot’s use of this characterization is interesting for the content of the impending scene. The narrator is a voyeur, presumably unknowingly observing the other two characters of the scene and possibly has observed them in this fashion before. A woman in her home is preparing for a visitor by setting out food; the expected visitor is a young male. The narrator describes the young male unflatteringly, and describes the woman little. The narrator describes the man as having a “bold stare,” and “the time is now propitious,” these terms indicated that there is an already known expectation for the interaction between the woman and man. It is possible they are lovers or that the woman is in some fashion a prostitute. The lines “Endeavors to engage her in caresses/Which are still unreproved, if undesired” indicated that the female is far less interested in the encounter, and the likelihood that this is a business arrangement rather than a lovers tryst rises. “Exploring hands encounter no defence [sic]” also reinforces the attitude that the female is less interested in the encounter, yet not hindering its occurrence. The narrator expresses his emotion in regard to the sexual activity occurring: “And I Tiresias have foresuffered [sic] all/Enacted on this same divan or bed.” This passage alluded not only to the mythological story of Tiresias as a representation of all women, but to the possibility that the narrator may have had their own experience with a lover as the woman currently is. The passage ends after the sexual activity and the young man has left. The woman is said to be unaware of the man’s departure, this reverberates the attitude of disinterest the woman seems toward the sexual encounter. The woman is quoted by the narrator being relieved that the situation is now over. Her attitude is a definite indication of the possibility she is a prostitute. The line “When lovely woman stoops to folly…” is the final line of this section enforces the possibility she is a prostitute. The overall attitude of this passage is not positive about the sexual encounter of the young man and woman, from the perspective of both the voyeur narrator and the woman.
    Listening to Eliot read The Waste land has helped in my understanding the pome. The fluctuation of narrator makes the poem difficult to follow. Hearing it by Eliot was very helpful in attempting to interpret the poem.

    Like

    1. I would agree that the interaction between the observed couple seems more like a business arrangement rather than an affair, especially considering Eliot’s/Tiresias’s description of the man’s occupation and the inclusion of the phrase “a Bradford millionaire,” in addition to the woman’s general disinterest. However, this does seem confusing as the woman is initially referred to as a typist, although that may be a metaphor or merely a reference to her daytime job. I wonder if this is a larger point on Eliot’s behalf about the nature of “all women,” regarding sexual obligation and unrest.

      Like

    2. I also believe the woman in this passage to be a prostitute and one who must work with men like the young carbuncular often. I thought Eliot’s use of Tiresias in this section brilliant. It was nice to have the juxtaposing time periods in one section along with the different views and responses to one act. Having an old, Greek, mythological prophet recount the actions of a modern time with modern people allowed me to criticize the subjects in the poem from the perspective of an unlikely character.

      Like

  29. I chose the 111-151.
    I am not sure who the speaker is talking to, but it reminds me of a paranoid lover. You are hoping the one you love is thinking of nothing but you. The speaker demanding that the other one speak shows a very high level of anxiety and insecurity. Clearly demanding what he is thinking, what are we hearing and what will we do. Yes, she has very bad nerves indeed. He loses patience with her when he answers “nothing again nothing”.
    2. The juxtaposition in this passage is vast due to her anxiety and his passiveness. She’s extremely on edge and speaking in a quickened pace questioning and drilling. She’s repetitive when he doesn’t answer quick enough. He seems like he is used to her behavior and answers calmly and in short sentences, with little or no emotion.
    3. Listening to Eliot read the poem made a huge difference. When I read it, I thought it was a jumbled up mess and not poetry at all, especially in the sense that it didn’t rhyme. When he read it with his British accent it sounded much better. It still didn’t rhyme but it made more sense to me. The additional voices that contributed helped to decipher what sex the person was, their station in life, and their excitement and emotional tones. I also watched the video of Fiona Shaw performing it and it was fabulous. She brought it to life by acting out the characters and changing the tone of her voice. It is a must see performance.

    Like

  30. I took the passage from 173-214 to be two people in agreement about the deterioration of Elliot’s own views of the modern world. The speaker in lines 173-186 repeats the lines “the nymphs are departed” (175, 179) and “sweet Thames, run softly” (183, 184), which made me think of someone in mourning, or in this case, nostalgic for a world they have read about but never known. Nymphs, or wood spirits, were used to illustrate a fantastical view of the past, since they never actually existed outside of fiction or mythology. Alluding to a better time, the first speaker talks of the beauty that the Thames river used to have, lacking “handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends” (177) that currently make up the now lackluster river. He is not only disgusted, but feels disconnected from the modern world. “By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept” (182), according to the footnotes, is in reference to Pslam 137. In this line, the speaker feels that he is an outcast, as the people of Israel were. This section ends with the speaker hearing “the rattle of bones, and a chuckle spread from ear to ear” (186), which leads me to believe the subsequent part of the passage is a different speaker. To me, it sounds as though someone has sneaked up on the speaker, and murdered them.
    The next speaker is someone fishing in the canal, commentating their disgust for the city with the grotesque rat and “brother’s wreck” (191), alluding to The Tempest, a Shakespeare play about revenge. This reference, and the imagery of naked people, bones, and rats, shows the speaker’s disdain for the city and the people that inhabit it. The lines, “But at my back from time to time I hear the sound of horns and motors” (196, 197) are in contrast to lines in the first section of this passage, which strengthen my belief that this is a second speaker. However, this second speaker is not nearly as depressed about the current state of the world, but more annoyed and troubled. The sounds “Twit twit” and “jug jug” are not all that pleasant, and the speaker ends by insulting someone named Mr. Eugenides. The word “demotic”, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is simplified, or common speech used by average people, meaning the speaker wants us to look down on Mr. Eugenies. “C.i.f. London” (211) is “cost, insurance, plus freight”, a phrase regarding monetary costs between traders, and this means the man is being propositioned for sex by someone he is utterly repulsed by. However, the outcome, either refusal or acceptance of the offer, is unknown as the passage cuts.
    The first speaker differs from the second in that he is more depressed about the state of the world. He longs for the past and weeps for the present, but the last lines of him hearing someone behind him with no continuation of his thoughts imply he has been murdered by someone. The second speaker is more annoyed and disgusted by the world around him. He is not necessarily accepting, but tolerant of it, as there is little he can do. The second speaker represents a stronger, more stoic person that has moved on from the past and accepted the future, while the second is implied dead as a result of their own nostalgia and inability to adapt to the changing world. T. S. Elliot is suggesting that it is unwise to hold onto the past even though the present may disgust you, and to look towards the future.
    After hearing T.S. Elliot read the lines of the first speaker I noticed more intent than before. When he is speaking about the high society people and his disdain for them he raises his pitch slightly, as if to mock them. As the speaker ends with someone sneaking up on him, Elliot’s voice shakes slightly and there is this feeling of dread as he lowers and softens his voice. Elliot speaking helped me better hear the difference in tone between the speakers, and affirm some of my own assumptions about them.
    Although I thought that the vocal deformance of Elliot’s recordings were interesting and even humorous, I believe altering his voice would do a disservice when listening to him recite the poems. There is an authenticity of getting to hear the author of the poems speak them how they envisioned them to be spoken. If someone were to go back and alter these recordings and instruct students to listen to them for the first time as they have been altered I would be apprehensive. I would like to use the art of film as an example. To go back and edit a film such as Goodfellas or Bladerunner into something other than what the directory intended would not just be negligent, but malicious to the art. It is interesting in theory, but the original works should come before the altered if they are to be displayed at all. Although I agree that it has the ability to defamiliarize people with an author’s piece of work, a deformance of a piece can lessen the impact of the original, so should be shown afterwards.

    Like

  31. I chose the passage on pages 257-295. In this passage, I believe the two characters to be two men sharing a canoe or small boat. I interpret the opening and closing passages – of which are the same character – to be that of a “civilized” and educated urbanite; whereas, I believe the middle portion, with its differing style and cadence and content, to be that of a native person accustomed to living in the wilderness and from the land. The passages polarizes the polarities between what the city-dwelling human mind perceives versus what the organically-based nature dweller experiences. “Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, The pleasant whining of a mandoline; And a clatter of a chatter from within” (lines 260-263). The urban sophisticated individual’s sensibilities gravitate towards the familiar sounds of a pub and the music and murmur within. The native’s approach – and how Eliot arranges in – has a smoother cadence and focuses and the subtleties of the natural experience. “The brisk swell, Rippled both shores; South-west wind, Carried down stream, The peal of bells, White towers” (lines 284-289). This perspective takes notice at the beauty and life thriving within the water and wind that guides and accompanies them.

    I believe Eliot beautifully juxtaposed the two dispositions to illustrate the disparity in the progressive changing world and the traditional conservative way of life. Especially considering the period in which the work was written, this piece exemplifies the American expansion and the coalescence of cultures and individuals thereafter. The urbanite individual rounds-out the passage with a whimper, citing “Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew, Undid me; By Richmond I raised my knees, Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe” (lines 292-295). This character becomes distracted and leaves the moment because of the societal conditioning that demands he revert to thinking about his problems in other times and places. The native character has a deeply appreciative done in expressing their gratitude for the minutia of their daily sensory experience. I deeply meditated on the on the reading by Eliot himself and it helped guide my experience with the piece in a more competent and coherent direction.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s