WWI In Second Life

After seeing the World War I Poets Exhibition in second life, I would have to say that I found the audio files to be one of the most interesting aspects of the experience. Being able to hear interviews and poems from people that were actually involved in the war made it feel more realistic. Hearing what all they had to say about to war made it more authentic and allowed me to get more of a feel for what it was like to be involved than anything a movie could do.

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Fragmentation in Wasteland

The Wasteland is very much a critique of Arnold’s view of a culture which he wants to keep completely seperate and distinct. This is portrayed when Eliot writes, “The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, Glowed on the marble where the glass Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines From which a golden Cupidon peeped out” (Eliot 77-80). This very much an allusion to cleopatra who emobodies beauty. But this is juxtaposed to a lower class scenario as well.

“You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique” (Eliot 156). These women are not beautiful and yet Eliot compares them to the woman prior who is in her chair because they all have a feeling of hopelessness.

The Waste Land

The Wasteland is such an incredible conglomeration of literature. I think it’s brilliant to icorporate so many established work. So many ideas are continually repeated by authors that someone else has thought up and they don’t give credit to anyone else. Eliot does not outrightly credit the quotes, but all of his footnotes do well to point out the great works of literature he is quoting.
The point of his fragmentation displays the feeligs of despairity among the people of his time. The experience of WW1 influenced everyone everywhere. English and Americans alike could not just escape the reality of it though they wanted to. They had lost nearly an entire generation of young men in combat. Everyone was affected in some manner.

“A rat crept softly through the vegetation/ Dragging its slimy belly on the bank/ While I was fishing in the dull canal/ On a winter eveing roung behind the gashouse/ Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck/ And on the king my father’s death before him” (ln. 187-192)
These images Elito writes about constantly bring WW1 to mind and show the terrors of trench warfare. But he constantly shifts to other topics too, which seem odd but are closely related.

Endgame

Endgame was a very interesting play to read. Hearing in class that it is a very physical play makes me want to see it or another Samuel Beckett play performed sometime. I enjoyed it, but it is also very depressing. I think there are quite a few similarities between Endgame and The Wasteland. Both works show a world without hope, filled with thoughtful despair. Both Elliot and Beckett are examing the ways in which modernity has brought about the loss of true culture.

At the very beginning of Endgame, Clov talk says these words:

CLOV: (fixed gaze, tonelessly) Finished, it’s all finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. (Pause) Grain upon grain, one by one, suddenly there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap (pause). I can’t be punished anymore.

These words are so interesting because they relate the feeling of giving up in despair and just waiting for the end.

Swedenborg

In relation to William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, I did not find anything that necessarily complicated the story, but I did find something that I thought was interesting… On plate 3, there is a picture at the top of a man surrounded in flames. This plate also mentions an angel named Swedenborg. I thought perhaps the figure at the top was this angel, but I was unsure. However, just before it mentions Swedenborg, there’s a note that refers to plate 24. After turning there, I read this, “When he had so spoken, I beheld the Angel who stretched out his arms embracing the flame of fire & he was consumed and arose as Elijah” (Blake, 201). I am not certain of this, but perhaps the figure at the top of plate 3 was in fact Swedenborg. After all, the figures in plate 3 and 24 look somewhat similar.

Tintern Abbey and the Sublime

As soon as you begin reading “Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey”, aspects of the sublime are injected into the every word that Wordsworth writes. Lines toward the beginning such as, “These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs / With a sweet inland murmur. –Once again / Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,” (Wordsworth, p. 390, l. 3-5). The sublime is a mixture of pleasure and fear, and that which inspires profound emotion.
Emotion would not have been on the minds of poets prior to the shift in the literary idea of nature. The “rolling waters” and the “steep and lofty cliffs” provide an overwhelming view of nature, which is what the goal was for writers of the time. The sublime also lends itself to mystery, and the idea that nature is vast and untamable, which is opposite thinking from earlier writers.