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Word Count: 1,603
Hanging in a Jar When read for the first time The Waste Land appears to be a concoction of sorts a disjointed poem Lines are written in different languages narrators change and the scenes seem disconnected except for the repeated references to the desert and death When read over again however the pieces become coherent The Waste Land is categorized as a poem but when exhibited visually it appears to be a literary collage And when standing back and viewing the collage from a distance a common theme soon emerges Eliot collects aspects from different cultures or what he calls cultural memories These assembled memories depict a lifeless world in which the barrenness of these scenes speaks of a wasted condition He concentrates on women including examples of violence committed against them and their subsequent lack of response to show how apathetic the world is The Waste Land is not a social commentary on the plight of women though but rather it creates a metaphor for the impotence of the human race to respond to pain through the womens non-reaction to violence Form often follows function in poetry and in this case Eliot uses this notion when he merges seemingly unrelated scenes together that portray the vicious nature of this cycle of violence and unaccountability The Waste Land is broken up into five parts each with its own subtitle In each of these parts Eliot tells the stories of many different lives while also incorporating poetry lines and song lyrics from other cultures These lines often translate into something depressing tying into Eliots themes of death and emptiness An example is the epigraph of this poem taken from Virgils Aeneid about a conversation between Sybil and her acolytes at Cumae The acolytes ask her what she wants and she replies I want to die Sybil is suspended in a jar and Eliot uses this image to represent the human race The epigraph sets
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