First reading of The Waste Land

September 29, 2010

I. The Burial of the dead

I did not understand this section of the poem, so i read it then took the name of the section into consideration, and I interpreted it as some one leaving, maybe not actually dead but they are changing. Elliot in this first section seems to be reminiscing of how his relationship with someone used to be but now they are changing or “dying” and like the title he is burying them or in other words forgetting about them or leaving them, but not forgetting them as you would if someone you cared for actually died. I interpreted it as this based on the title of this section and when Elliot uses “we” often and when they were children, but also because of line 19 when he says “What are the roots of that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish?” i interpreted this as someone he knows for while changing and he is questionin their roots or how they were raised.In the first section Elliot goes on to speak about how people are not themselves and they are fake when in public view. I also got that he was questioning if he would ever see this person that he used to know but is now “dead” when he says “that corpse you planted last year in your garden, has it begun to sprout?will it bloom this year?” he is asking if the person he once used to know and the real them will come back.

II. A Game of Chess

From section 2 i got that Elliot was first describing a women who he considers fake or puts on a front in line 87 “Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes, unguent, powdered, or liquid-troubled, confused”. He then goes on to  a dialog which I took as a relationship falling apart because of communication, but then i considered the title of this section and in a chess game you essentially go after the queen to win. And he then goes on and discusses “lil’s husband” and that her husband returning from the army will not like her anymore. So i wonder if the speaker of the poem is going after Albert’s wife or “queen”, but im not sure, and not sure if he wants her for himself or like in chess to attack the “queen”.

III. The fire Sermon

this part of the poem confused me and not reading the footnotes made a big difference, but hopefully with a second reading and footnotes i will understand it. Maybe even two more readings.

IV.Death by Water

what i took from the third section was that the speaker uses the example of a whirlpool so show how his life past him by, “He passes the stages of his age and youth, entering the whirlpool”. I also took the title of this section into consideration “Death by Water”, death by water i take is drowning which is slow, and may represent his life. His life is i take it death by water or a slow death.

V. What the thunder said

I am not sure if i actually do not understand this section or if I lost hope because of the previous sections and how I wasnt sure what he intended to mean in them. But this section was equally confusing, and has me reconsidering the meaning of the first two sections which i thought i understood.

I was not really sure what the poem was about, but after reading the poem I think that the speaker Prufrock is discussing the fact that he wants to have sex with a women or multiple women that he may or may not love, but he is worried about how society will view him and the women that he sleeps with. The line “Is it worth it after all”, I think means sleeping with different women and not having love worth it, basically is it worth it to have multiple partners and not have love. I also think that Prufrock is asking is it worth it to be looked down on by society even though he is trying to pursue his own happiness. So the line “Is it worth is after all”, I believe means is it worth it to pursue what makes you happy even though you will be judged by society.

This poem was interesting to me beacuse it made me think and wonder about what exactly Yates is writing about. At first i began tothink he was writing about being in war and flying a plane, and that he knows he will die in theclouds while he is flying. But after research i found out that Yates wasnt a pilot. But i still beleive that it is about war, and that the outcome of the war will not make the people happier than before. I like this poem because it is about the fact that war is pointless and the only thing that is certain in war and in life is death, and that war does benefit any one. I also found it interesting that in this poem Yates is basically saying that his life was a waste and his death will balance his life, “The years to come seemeded waste of breath, A waste of breathe the years behind”. I like this poem because of the relation to war Yates makes to his life, and how both are a watse of time in the past as well as the future.

I do believe that there is racism in “Heart of Darkness” and I do believe that Conrad was somewhat racist. I say Conrad was somewhat racist because he was born in the 19th century and was raised in the 19th century. At this time there was not racial equality in Europe, so it is no surprise that a white European man in the 19th century wrote a work of literature which hints and directs remarks towards race. I believe that Achebe does take into consideration when the novel was published and how society was at that time, but he does not let Conrad get away with that excuse. I do agree with Achebe that Conrad wants everything and everyone to be in its place, I don’t believe this only because of racism but that Conrad is sort of self centered, and thinks highly of himself and of Kurtz in the story, and this is why I think he describes Kurtz’ “mistress” as “savage and superb”. I think she was superb because she good enough for Kurtz but yet savage because she was African. I think that Conrad holds himself and Kurtz above others, as well as being racist. Therefore I agree with Achebe that Conrad is racist, but then again what does Achebe expects from a white European male writer in the 19th century whose primary audience is other White racist European males. I also think that if Conrad was not racist, and in “Heart of Darkness” treated the Africans as equals that this novel would have not been published because of society and lack of racial equality. I also think that Conrad might have wrote this novel about his trip to the congo and filled it with racist remarks for  the same reason Marlow told Kurtz’ fiance that his last words were her name. I think that this proves that Conrad wants things and people in their place, and even if he had gone to the congo and they were more advanced tham Europeans I do not think Conrad would have mentioned it because he wants to believe that Africans are “savages” and wants Europeans to be placed above them. The same way he wants Kurtz to seem like he died being the same man he always was, when in fact he became a “savage”.

The Transformation of Kurtz

September 6, 2010

When Marlow finally encounters Kurtz it is not what i expected at all. Throughout Heart of Darkness, Marlow describes Kurtz as a person who enjoys life an all its adventures. This is the total opposite of when Marlow actually meets Kurtz, when he meets him Kurtz has become ill physically and mentally. I believe what caused this transformation in Kurtz is the fact that he became so obsessed with ivory and maintaining his appearance as the best ivory gatherer. I also think that Kurtz had a illness that “savages” are immune to but he was not, and i think that  him realizing he was going to die from this illness made him mentally ill. He realized that he was gonna die then his mind became ill and he wanted to be remembered as the best. He tells Marlow he just wants justice and that he gathered all the ivory and he deserves credit. So i believe that normal illness and fear of death caused this transformation in Kurtz.