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Allusions in "The Waste Land"

a presentation created for English 1102, Spring 2011, Georgia Institute of Technology

Brandon Abernathy

on 1 May 2011

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Transcript of Allusions in "The Waste Land"

Allusions in "The Waste Land" Water The Seasons Spring Summer Autumn Winter ll. 1-4
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the deas land, mixing
Memory and desire, stiring
Dullroots with spring rain. The Canterbury Tales Prologue, ll.1-4
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower.
-The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffery Chaucer Starnbergersee l. 8
Summer suprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
with a shower of rain On June 3, 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria and his companion were drowned in the Starnbergersee (lake) near Munich by anti-authority conspirators. Eliot may be refering to the disregard of literary conventions by new generations and the resulting death of traditional literature. Water is one of the main, reccuring themes
of The Waste Land, and symbolizes.. Life Death 1. 5-7
Winter kept us warm, covering
earth in forgetful snow, feeding
a little life with dried tubers. 1. 11-18
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.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. Eliot derived most of the ideas in this passage from "My Past" by the Countess Marie Larisch. This idea can be used to form the idea that the narrator feels free in the mountains whereas they can't feel this way anywhere else. Phlebas the Phoenecian, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell (313) The Waste Land is barren
and desolate, without water. "Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road" (320) &
Rebirth Infertility Explanation T.S. Eliot uses multiple allusions to earthy and physical things in order to indirectly express an idea of decaying literature and life around him. By pointing out specific allusions to the seasons, earth like elements such as water and soil, and other "infertile" examples of poetry, we can construct an over-arching theme and/or idea that Eliot is most likely referring to.

These allusions are important to the reader in the sense that they create a structured view of Eliot's poetry, and it makes one notice just exactly how his style of writing all connects with one another. He uses inadament descriptions and people to indirectly hint to a general idea of death and decay. Although there are a few positive lines in "The Waste Land", everything else almost always must be deciphered before the true meaning of the words reveal themselves. This is in fact what this digital mapping project strives to uncover: the creative and unique ways in which Eliot uses descriptions and literary elements to convey a simple message of decaying literature and society. Ironically, Eliot is using literature to convey a message about literature. Nonetheless, the message is still there. Eliot often describes the land and human attributes in a negative light, all pointing to one dismal idea of infertility and decay Contrast Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain (392) April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. The poem itself moves and flows like water The Ground Ere the worm pierce your winding-sheet, ere the
spider make a thin curtain for your epitaphs.
( 410-411) This allusion to creatures that are generally
classified as squirmy, low-lying animals
is another way in which Eliot alludes to death
and decay. Specifically, he references the spider
making a curtain for an epitaph. The symbolism
is undoubtedly present. Can be representative of the fact that some things are
forgotten and in existence but they are just needed to be
found again. V. 327-330
Of thunder of Spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience This quote alludes to the idea that we are all going to die. It's saying that those before us have come and gone and our time is coming ever so slowly. http://natures-desktop.smugmug.com http://natures-desktop.smugmug.com http://natures-desktop.smugmug.com Roots... Lilacs out of the dead
land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. (2-5) www. barnesandnobles.com The cover of this particular book speaks many things
all at once. Could one imagine lilacs blooming out of
a dismal land like this one? This is yet another stop along
Eliot's purpose behind writing the "The Waste Land". The
irony, the dismality, all summed up in just a few lines of literature. Decay... 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 (142-143) This "decay" can be applied to the allusion that Eliot sets up with the previous text. It is something that must occur over time, and some parts decay further than others... as seen in the strawberry video. This is important to notice because it gives the reader perspective on the poem, seeing that it really all is just one references to decline in happiness and life... or in Eliot's words, the decline of literature and all its worth. Keep in mind the time period in which this was written....
A rat crept softly through
the vegetation...Dragging its slimy belly on the bank Pure Descriptive Power... ipmpestcontrol.co.uk But what does that mean? Keep in mind that those two lines were prefaced with a “rattle of bones” that [he] hears, and then is is immediately followed by the previous quote of the rat sliding its slimy belly across the ground. Eliot alludes to bones as a way of insinuating death, then reaffirms his purpose by giving sensory details about a rat sliding it's belly along vegatation... something associated with death being so up-close and personal with something that gives us life...

He almost makes his points too obvious! The reader must realize his hyperbolic ways of writing, because they not only make the poem more interesting... but they also change the way we think of Eliot. We begin to question his state of mind and emotional stature during the time he wrote this poem...
1. 60-64
Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a Winter dawn
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many.
I had not thought death had undone so many. It describes London as a city of
death during the winter. The author also
expresses his surprise of the amount of people
who have been affected by death. http://www.ataphijau.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/large_your-photos-spring-trees.jpg http://farm1.static.flickr.com/6/5762084_496b9624bf.jpg http://am67.wordpress.com/tag/familie/ In which sad light a carved dolphin swam. (96) “Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night” (171) Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed (36) a digital mapping project by Brandon Abernathy, Alex King, Jordan Lockwood and Taabish Rashied created for English 1102, Spring 2011
Georgia Institiute of Technology
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