The Waste Land

Can the words like mixing, roots, tubers, he took me, tight,etc. carry the sexual themes in the poem?

What are the various other sexual themes in this poem? What can be the best way of interpreting the poem form the view point of sexuality?

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The problem with Eliot and sex is that he seems to be quite devoid of it. "A Game of Chess", is a reference to a Thomas Middleton play, and, as one would expect with the co-author of "The Changeling", the allusion should be riddled with sex. But in the waste land, the seductive is sterile and just another symbol for monotony. You find more sex with Tereus and Philomela, but I would prefer to think of the theme of "A Game of Chess" to be less about sex and more to do with the abuse of women. You have the abuse of Philomela, Ophelia, perhaps Cleopatra, and I think in the middle section Vivienne Eliot. The passage of dialogue in the middle of part II is crucial to understanding the lack of sex. Eliot is so caught up in his despair that he cannot interact with his wife, and therefore sex is not even in the equation. There is love, " I could not / Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither / Living nor dead, and I knew nothing", but like all true existence in the waste land it appears in fragments. One could compare these fragments to an orgasm, but that is probably inferring too much. So in short, I would have to say that "The Waste Land" is probably not the best poem for this.


B.C. Southam