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Although T.S. Eliot is widely know for his literary works as his famous poems Pufrock and Other Observations (1917), The Waste Land (1922) or Four Quartets (1935-1942) and his famous plays such as Murder in the Cathedral (1927) or The Rock (1927); he is also considered one of the finest literary critics of the twentieth century1…
In this literary dissertation, I will focus on the term 'objective correlative, which appeared in his essay on Hamlet by William Shakespeare, studying it and its effects by giving examples taken from his poem The Waste Land and from Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse.
According to T.S. Eliot, 'objective correlative' is a set of images, descriptions, actions, so forth that the writers use to create and evoke certain feelings in their readers. These things are so deeply related with a concrete emotion, or a set of emotions, that whenever they appear in the text; the reader always associate them with the emotion referred. In his words it is:
The only way of expressing emotion in form of art is by finding an 'objective correlative'; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.2
'Objective correlative' not only creates and evokes emotion, but also forms part to the writings imagery, its main theme, symbols or metaphors playing a strong role in the text. It is important to remember that usually writers evoke certain feelings and emotions for a specific purpose. ...
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