Assignment 3

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. …
It is also seen as a waste land in which nothing can grow, a hellish place were only the rats inhabit. In the poem, nature is normally seen as an enemy that offers no redemption or renewal. on the contrary, it only evokes pain, forgetfulness. feelings that pervade the poem’s main theme of decadence and lack of renewal.3 As in this excerpt of "What the Thunder said" in which the lack of water, that normally symbolizes live, can be interpreted as the lack of renovation.
Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink4
In Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, it is not the nature but the sea which evokes those feelings of nothingness, desperation and destruction. The sea, its waves, is a recurrent imagery in the novel that can symbolize many different things depending upon the character that is seeing it at the moment. The ever changing sea, with it flows, is the symbol of the ephemeral things, of the pass of time that forgives no one. In some parts of the novel, the sea is the nothingness itself, in other parts it is depicted as a predator that is waiting its victim for some weakness.5 Each character sees the sea differently, for James Ramsay it symbolizes the destruction of his childhood dream to attain the Lighthouse, for Mr Ramsay it is a destructive force that can engulf anything. but all have in common this feeling of nothingness, pain, desolation that pervades some of its descriptions like this one6:
made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned her whose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it