Analyzing Patriarchal Preoccupation and Instinctual Delectation in Waste Land: A Gender Perspective

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Khurram Shahzad
Muhammad Abdullah
Mirza Naveed Baig


Literary researchers and scholars have been reconsidering and re-reading the canonical authors’ texts such as Hamlet, Othello, Pride and Prejudice, Waste Land, etc. with particular reference to image, representation and sensuality of female gender since the rise of feminist literary critical theory in the last century. Modernist poetry (1890-1950), undeniably, is a valuable source for feminist interpretation because of its fragmentary and ambivalent nature, lacking thematic lucidity, too. Female eroticized body image, objectification and gender predominantly prevail throughout the modernist literature. In this research study, the researchers intend to scrutinize the issues of patriarchal preoccupation and sensual delectation in the Waste Land, taking into consideration the lens provided by Judith Butler who specifically pointed out that gender and sensuality are not only socially constructed, produced and disseminated but also is performative, and hence are fictions. She further retains, “A more radical use of the doctrine of constitution that takes the social agent as an object rather than the subject of constitutive acts” (Performative, 270). The treatment of hyper-sensualized women presented by T. S. Eliot in Waste Land seems to lose romance and substance, and therefore, women have been portrayed through their body parts as nothing but sensual objects to be consumed and exploited by the male members of the society in the name of nature, religion and essentialism. In this manner, women are required to conform to the hegemonic powers of the society, and their identity is subverted and constrained. Moreover, the continuous use of female objectification in literature and specifically in Waste Land eases the collective perception of the society as a whole and makes people think of women as sensual tools to be used and abused.

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