This essay provides an approach to teaching T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The approach is designed to disassociate the student from the annotation usually provided by either Eliot or an editor. The assignment is presented in multiple frameworks and hopes to make students deal with the poem’s specific lines. The process described has students identify voice shifts in the poem. It is certainly true that there are differing opinions about voice in The Waste Land, but the point of the assignment is not to involve the student in this debate (at least initially). The explicit pedagogical goal of the approach described in this essay is to enable students to develop their own views on the poem and to create a reading that is independent of editorial direction. This develops their ability to read critically and increases their comfort level with a difficult text.
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Michael Brisbois; Voices Out of a Barren Land: An Approach to Teaching T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Pedagogy 1 October 2013; 13 (3): 537–544. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2266441
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