Define "modernity" in The Waste Land.  T.S. Eliot

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are going to have give more with this question.  You are dealing with a couple of elements that necessitate it.  T.S. Eliot is probably one of the most complex thinkers/ artists  in all of literature.  His seminal work, "The Waste Land," is probably one of the most complex works ever put to paper.  There is so much within it that helps to feed the idea of defining modernity and exploring the nature of the human predicament that to fully explore it would go well beyond the space here on enotes.  In a broad sense, Eliot's poem helps to bring to light what modernists saw their time as and how their work was to represent it.  The complex and intricate nature of structure, narrative, and overall function of the work is one that explores the modern World War I setting of decay and fragmentation.  The driving force of the poem is to convey this setting through language and imagery that helps to bring to light that the modern setting is one where no easy answers remain and that the previous structures that helped to provide meaning and clarity are rendered useless in such a condition.  In order to get more out of this, I stand by my original point in that more detail and clarification is going to be needed in the question.  It makes sense from a modernist point of view:  More clarity is needed in order to ensure a lack of it in analyzing Eliot's work.