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Daniel Wheatley Response to Eliot Video

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

Response to T.S. Eliot Video

by Daniel Wheatley


    After watching the video, I found it interesting how it seemed Eliot, and his readers have a love/hate relationship with his fragmentation.  I was slightly shocked to hear that at first, The Waste Land was criticized as being "too fragmented," which might have led Eliot to incorporating the footnotes in later editions. 

    Obviously, it could be said that Eliot decided to fragment his poem so severely to reflect the fragmented world around him, but as I heard it read by dramatic readers, it seemed less fragmented and more like a series of scenes.  When I think about fragments, I think sharp cuts, jagged edges like a puzzle that fit together.  Eliot, however, chooses not to rip his characters in The Waste Land out of their context, but rather illuminate each of them in turn.  The women in the pub, the person watching the Thames--to me, it's more like Eliot is aiming a spotlight on these people he may have seen while walking around London.


Response from Brittany Lodge:

I agree that hearing the poem read on the video really illuminated it for me. The dramatization made the characters real, the settings vibrant, and the language intelligible. I still see the poem as a set of fragments, but I see the meaning of some individual fragments more clearly.


Response from Dani Stoe:

Hearing the poem really did make it seem less disjointed than reading it. I like the idea of thinking of it like it's a play of some sort and the sections are scenes. It makes it easier to grasp.


Response from Lady Bell:

It's interesting that you compare the fragmentations to a "spotlight." When the poem was read aloud, it felt to me almost like a black box production: that character sitting on a chair, confessing to us things without them being aware we were even listening. I must admit, the first few times I read the poem to myself, there was no "illumination" at all. It wasn't until I heard the reading that I caught onto the "scene by scene" progression. So I wonder, which one is more accurate? If we base this on reader response criticism, it wouldn't matter. But, for my own sake, I am interested in how Elliot wanted this poem to be interpreted.


Response from Andrew Heil

Hearing the poem read aloud helped to reveal the music of the verse (which Pound commented on during his editing of the poem), even if all of the fragmentation does make it nigh impossible to understand.

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