The Waste Land, a 434-line modernist poem by T.S. Eliot revolves around a world of what seems to be chaotic and dead, and led by a single protagonist. Throughout The Waste Land, there are many uses of symbolism with tarot cards, astrology, and especially the game of chess: The game of chess is such a meaningful symbol throughout the story, that metaphors are used to describe the situation and emotions of the characters throughout the poem by describing them as chess pieces and in check-mate situations. After considering the game of chess, and comparing to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the reading changes and it makes the reader view the poem as a game of life and death; a poem of survival, where less meaningful people and things must sacrifice themselves to save what matters most to them.
Beginning the second part of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is a Game of Chess. This section focuses on two opposing scenes, one of high society and one of the lower classes. The first half of the section portrays a wealthy, highly groomed woman surrounded by marvelous furnishings. As she waits for a lover, her neurotic thoughts become frantic, and her day culminates for a game of chess. The second part of this section shifts to a bar, where two women discuss a third woman. The bartender constantly calls out, “HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME” (the bar is closing). In between the bartender’s announcements, one of the women recounts a conversation with her friend Lil, whose husband has just been discharged from the army. She complains about her lacking of bettering herself; getting false teeth so her husband won’t chase after other women. Lil claims that the cause of her ravaged looks is the medication required for an abortion; seeing she almost died after giving birth to her fifth child, refusing to have another.
The first line of a Game of Chess begins with the line, “The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne.” The chair she sat in is obviously the chair one of the women is...
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