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TS Eliot Video Response

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago


T.S. Eliot Video Response

Created By: Heather Smith

The video about T.S. Eliot focused on the ways in which Eliot used ideas and quotes from other writers to create "The Wasteland." His motivation behind this usage was to show the range of characters living in London by including various patterns of speech and accents. He represented the literary culture of the time, but did so only through twisting the works and words of other writers. The video discussed the appeal of such a diverse poem to the reader because of the imaginative power that "The Wasteland" provoked. I got the impression that Eliot's piece was widely read and enjoyed by people during modern times. However, in class the other day, we discussed the audience of Eliot's poem and ultimately concluded that he was writing for an elite group of intellectuals. Eliot was writing a reflection of the culture which included private problems, urban conditions, and literary matters, but did not believe that many of his readers would actually be able to grasp the connection between his fragments. Was Eliot widely read and enjoyed as the movie seemed to portray or was he writing a reflection that would only be understood by elite modern intellectuals?
BJ Haffeman's Response -
I think Eliot wrote in a way so elevated and with different languages because he was writing to a specific audience. He knew that anyone would be able to read his poem, but I don't think he wanted everyone to fully understand it. So I think he wrote in a way that his chosen audience would appreciate. Everyone else would look at it and see a jumble of words, look at each other and shrug their shoulders. Although he did include notes so we would be able to understand. So I could be entirely wrong (wouldn't be the first time), but I do agree he was targeting a certain audience.
Response from Brittany Lodge:
Wow, Heather, I really like what you wrote. I picked up on that too, but I didn't put the pieces together and realize how contradictory it was that he wrote for the masses and yet anticipated his poem to only be understood by the elite. I think this might have something to do with the multiple voices in the poem. Maybe he wanted the common man to appreciate it on one level, while including more elevated language and subjects for his more educated readers. (??) The characters in the poem seem to be mostly common people, so maybe it was also a way of connecting the elite with the masses. 
Great observations.


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