How is T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land ironic in terms of textual elements and themes that are relevant to modernism? According to Ayers, The Waste Land is both ironic and lyrically confessional.

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In order to answer this, we need to define our terms to orient our thinking because the terms relate to and depend on each other. Space is limited so, briefly, irony is the quality in words or situations in which the expressed meaning is opposite of the felt meaning or in which the outcome of a situation is contrary to expectation.

  • Verbal irony: You sit on my glasses; I say, "Thank you very much, that was helpful." What I feel and what I want known is opposite from what I say.
  • Situational irony: A truck/lorry driver sells his car and walks everywhere. The professional driver's behavior is contrary to what is expected.

When examining The Waste Land for irony, it must be irony expressed in elements or themes, and the elements or themes must relate to the defining characteristics of modernism. It happens that irony itself is one of the defining features of modernism. Modernism was born in the aftermath of World War I in which...

(The entire section contains 458 words.)

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