The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot expresses the anxieties dealing with the aftermath of WWI through multiple voices, literary quotation, and fragmentation.
The anxieties present in The Waste Land are present through the multiple voices echoing throughout the poem. The narrator addresses “we” then shifts to “I” and then “you.” Figuring out who the poem is addressing most of the time is confusing and blurs the line between which aspects of the anxieties of the war pertain to only the “I” part of the narrator. The echo of the “us” I hear addressed in the poem, is interesting because it shows the emotions and actions of everyone as a whole.
The chain of thought throughout the poem describes the chaos and mixed emotions about the war. The poem beings with the narrator stating “April is the cruelest month, / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire.” From the phrase, the reader gets the impression that this is the voice of a world war veteran. The veteran warns the reader that he mixes his memory and desire often, as it is seen carried out throughout the poem. He discusses his days at war, then his memory skips around and takes him back to his childhood. His memory skips around and jumbles up his thoughts. What I like most about the idea of the narrator mixing reality with memory is that it expresses how confusing human beings actually are. As humans, we might be walking around town, yet thinking about distant memories, then tuning out the memory to absorb the present.