Day 1

The Waste Land Lesson Plan

Discussion of Thought Questions

  1. 1

    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.

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