The Use of Fragmentation in The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Topics: The Waste Land

Fragmentation In Eliot’s “The Waste Land”

The fragmented symbolic connections and mythic method of allusion in T.S Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” creates a disconnected sense of imagery and a distinct style surrounded by the self-referential narrative. The tone and mood of Eliot’s work resemble the current thoughts of the time among the many returning from war and living with the self-alienating conflicts suffered after witnessing the atrocities on the field of battle; this insular form of hermeticism or disconnection from mainstream society became a growing issue of post-war ravaged Europe and appealed to the qualities surrounding the new modernist movement of those contemporary times.

The narrative moves through festive and funeral landscapes evoking images of life and death by those affected by the disassociation of living in society.

The mythic method attempts to shed light on the past to reveal what has been lost or destroyed in the modern world. The destruction of antiquity and the disconnections involved with losing one’s past is illustrated through Eliot’s vague references to Homeric mythology and certain stories related to the past heroes of Ancient Greece and Rome, which Walter Bate described as describedremorseless deepening of self-consciousness before the rich and intimidating legacy of the past.

” This de-personalized narrative stylistically disconnects the reader from the allusions to the past and skews the impact of history on current affairs; Eliot doesn’t so much as abandon society’s connection to history as much as it reveals the impact of allowing such an action to occur — his return to past philosophical ideologies and mythic tales fuses history into the present and reveals to the reader te confusion of contemporary society that has no roots linking it to the antiquity of days gone by.

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Oddly, by muddling the narrative associated with the classical ‘poet’, the reader becomes the sole authoritative participant and acting critic of the piece. When the narrator proclaims “These fragments I have shored against my ruins,” it is a self-referential admittance to the obscure nature of the work and the loss of individuality caused by the abandonment of history. The lexical fragmentation of the narrative is most apparent with the vocative mode by which Eliot pays homage to certain characters identified by the historical mythology that had been passed on by past generations and consequently convoluted by the passage of time. The intended meaning of “Tereu” within the narrative invokes the idea of history lost — a satirical pun of the name also links it to the English phrase “to rue,” which indirectly saturates the name to include another feeling of bewilderment or confusion.

More can be taken from what Eliot doesn’t say within the text than previously thought, which speaks volumes about what he is attempting to communicate. Modernist ideas of didisconnectionre the major message and lead a driving force to Eliot’s narrative and while meaning is highly interpretive and up for much debate, the main idea of feelings of alienation is a palpable fixture seen in the text.

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The Use of Fragmentation in The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. (2022, Jun 15). Retrieved from

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