Alienation In The Waste Land

1065 Words 5 Pages
In The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot he makes many allusions to the hell that modernism will bring, and how it results in loss of morality, repetition and distraction. In Trainspotting and Last Exit to Brooklyn, Eliot's vision of a modern hell created by man and loss of morality is palpable; and is not incompatible with the larger societies that had pushed the impoverished into impotent places like Leith and Sunset Park. There is no grand narrative in the novels and like Percival and Prufrock they are unable to ask the ‘overwhelming question’ because of their alienation from each other and their distracted attempts at survival. In turn these distracted attempts and alienation turn Leith and Sunset Park into neighborhoods of stagnancy and violence that destroy the communities. As with Eliot’s The Waste Land, both authors present a vision of hell on earth that is reminiscent of that of Dante’s vision of Florence as a type of hell in Inferno. As Stanley Lombardo states:
‘Throughout the Inferno the cities of medieval Italy are decried, one by one often with linguistically appropriate slang terms of abuse, for their ethical and social failings at both the communal and individual level. Throughout the Inferno Florence itself serves as the key example of a community destroyed by its own arrogance and corruption.
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The influence of hyper-individualism on the characters is such that they are isolated from each other which renders them impotent and unable to change their communities, and contributes to their ‘ethical and social failings’. Both authors have comparable themes with the Inferno, which demonstrate the impotence, violence and corruption of these neighborhoods; the first being stasis of time, the second language and the third being influence and corruption. Each of these themes creates an atmosphere in which the characters will keep making the same mistakes, damning them to world of impotence and

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