• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Has the Historical context of both the texts shaped the way that they are presented to the reader?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Has the Historical context of both the texts shaped the way that they are presented to the reader? Both the novels that I am studying for this essay have been considered as hugely important literary works. T.S Eliot's The Wasteland is thought of as one if not the greatest poetic triumph of the 20th century and Toni Morrison's Beloved and outstanding tale of the affects of slavery has won many awards and has been talked about as one of the finest works of an African American author of all time. For the writers both these texts were deeply personal pieces and what I will attempt to do during this essay is to try and discover whether the historical context of when the pieces were written affected its presentation to the readers. I am going to look at the situations that surrounded the writing of the two texts and look for any distinct similarities and how they might be represented. I am also going to see whether the two authors own personal experiences can be reflected in the two texts ands issues like economy, marriage and politics all play major roles within the two pieces. I will look at events like the First World War and the depression that followed as well as the economic struggle that was 80's America under Ronald Regan and I hope to try and show how these outside events could have significance within the texts. Thomas Sterns Eliot is best known for his poem 'The Wasteland' which literary scholars still study and acknowledge as the poem of the 20th century. He also wrote literary criticism and cultural philosophies. In confronting the world and its past, present and future in art and philosophy Eliot developed an approach to history as complex and mature as any professional historian. During 'The Wasteland' the reader gets an idea of the vastness of Eliot's knowledge as even the opening statement is written in Greek and Latin and throughout with different references to varying texts. ...read more.

Middle

With this lack of income families were left in a state of economic desperation with no one to bring in the finances the depression hit hard as children were left as now the mothers had to go out and work. The way women as mothers, wives and daughters were affected by the war as well as children shows the line 'I had not thought death had undone so many' to be quite true as not only were the effects of war seen on the battlefield but the repercussions were felt for years to come. The post war depression can clearly be felt throughout this stanza with the workers silently filing to work no one talking but each person feeling the depression of inevitable labour. Eliot's also had a fairly turbulent personal life. In 1915 he married an English writer named Vivienne Haigh-Wood .Vivienne was upper-middle class, smart and lively but, unknown to Eliot, unstable.I believe that his wife's infidelity and the resulting breakdown that Eliot suffered had an obvious effect on The Wasteland especially in the section from line 140 - 170 in A game of Chess. In this section we hear two friends talking about the imminent return of ones husband. This piece also talks about the woman's infidelity and the fact that she may be pregnant with another mans child. You can see an element of Eliot's personal life reflected in this section with the apparent infidelity of his wife during their marriage. It is clear to see that Eliot's personal experiences played a large part in the way that The wasteland is presented to us the reader but I do also want to look at my second text Beloved by Toni Morrison and gage whether there is the same level of personal experience within this novel. In 1988 African American writer Toni Morrison received the Pulitzer Prize for the novel BELOVED, after an open letter, signed by forty-eight prominent black writers, was published in the New York Time Book Review in January. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of these times where the African American Community was hit hard was during the presidency of Ronald Regan around the same time as Morrison was writing Beloved. Under Regan there had been a distinct slide in Americas economy and his policy became known as 'Reganomics' under his policies the nations wealth and income were polarized and working class households suffered considerably as did the African American community. Throughout Beloved we see the economic struggle that is faced by Sethe and her family. First as a free slave Sethe has to work her own land in an attempt to gain finances as well as working in the city and we see at one point in the book how the capitalistic nature of America shows us that the family's happiest moment together is when Sethe pulls out her life savings to blow on a party, purchasing varying goods and that is what makes them happy not the fact that they have each other but the fact that they can purchase materialistic things for the enjoyment of blowing the money they have worked so hard to earn. I believe that both of the texts Eliot's The Wasteland and Morrison's Beloved both have a significant personal and historical contribution. We can easily dismiss The Wasteland as a fragmented work but if we understand the historical context and elements like the First World War and the depression that followed we can better understand elements of the text. This can be said also of Beloved as it is not simply a slave narrative as it does have significant historical value as it tells us that not only was suffering felt during slavery but also when people were freed the effects were felt for generations afterwards. But I also believe that events at the time of the writing of Beloved helped to shape the story as at the time of 'Reganomics' people might not have been slaves any longer but they were now something else they were slaves to the wage a slave to continued work in an attempt to stay afloat in a capitalist society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. How far has the historical, social and cultural development of America shaped the plays ...

    The importance of these groups was that they produced the plays of European dramatists, including Ibsen and Chekhov, and that they nurtured American playwrights, giving them the opportunity to write without the commercial pressures of Broadway. 'Broadway' is a generic term generally used to denote mainstream, New York commercial theatre.

  2. Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is a tale of love and marriage in ...

    Her loyalty and devotion to her sister was shown in her three-mile trek to Bingley's house " so early in the day" and "in such dirty weather", to visit her while she was ill. Elizabeth is also more a septic.

  1. Dtente, meaning and definition.

    D�tente cannot change that. The nuclear age compels us to coexist. Rhetorical crusades cannot change that either. In late eighties detente entered the phase in which even ideological warfare was mellowed down and gradually it faded out more or less completely in the early nineties.

  2. American History.

    - Many Indian nations attempt to integrate themselves in the market economy. For example, some lower Mississippi tribes became cotton suppliers and traders. This turned out badly, though, b/c the trading posts would extend debt to chiefs that would later be used to force them off the land.

  1. Take two of the leading characters in the Brecth play you have studied and ...

    get meself and children through all this and with my cart." In the juxtaposition of the relecutant roles of both mother and merchant. Yet although her single-mindness to support her children is sympathetic, it becomes a mere aggrandisement in relation to her fourth child- the wagon.

  2. A Rwandan Story

    This was usually the time of year when the food shortage was at its worst because the harvest was back in September and no matter how well the weather would have been that year, the crops would have become inedible as they would go strange colours and smell strange.

  1. Iraq-Undemocratic and Turbulent Iraq-Undemocratic and Turbulent

    a government that would best suit them.7 The years which followed were filled with revolutions, jihad, and unrest, as the British sought to maintain control of a nation with which they knew very little about. The Great Iraqi Revolution in 1920 brought the Iraqi people together, although briefly, and was

  2. In 1915 a British Newspaper printed a letter from a 'Lady Reader' who claimed, ...

    So for the first two years of the war, most of the British public and the soldiers would have agreed with the Lady Reader. The nation wanted Belgium and France to be freed from the terrible "Huns", the derogatory name given to the Germans, and to teach the Germans a lesson.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work