Why do you think this poem has so many different speakers?
Eliot may be trying to convey a sense of chaos, a sense of many voices talking over each other, interrupting each other. He may also want to express the totality of a moment in time—at any given moment in history, many people are having many different experiences. Marie, for example, in "The Burial of the Dead," has lost the world to which she belonged; the man walking in London in "The Fire Sermon" is trying to find his way to a new way of living. It gives the poem a sense of belonging to many, which makes the destruction of society, the society to which all its speakers belong, seem all the more complete.
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 728 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4232 literature essays, 1407 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.