A dramatic monologue that changes speakers, locations, and times throughout, "The Waste Land" draws on a dizzying array of literary, musical, historical, and popular cultural allusions in order to present the terror, futility, and alienation of modern life in the wake of World War I. Get LitCharts
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It is difficult to tie one meaning to ‘The Waste Land‘. Ultimately, the poem itself is about culture: the celebration of culture, the death of culture, and the misery of being learned in a world that has largely forgotten its roots. Eliot wrote it as a eulogyto the culture that he considered to be dead; at a time when dancing, music, jazz, and othe...
Part One: Stanza One
Immediately, the poem starts with the recurring imagery of death: ‘April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.’ Note the cadence of every –ing ending to the sentence, giving it a breathless, uneven sort of reading: when one reads it, there is a quick-slow paceto it that invites the reader to linger over the words. The use of the word ‘winter’ provides an oxymoronic idea: the idea that cold and death c...
Here is another of Eliot’s allusions, ‘son of man/ you cannot say or guess’, which is directly lifted from The Call of Ezekiel in the ‘Book of Ezekiel’. The religious allusion could be considered a response to the vast technological advancements of the time, where science was taking great leaps; however, the spiritual and cultural sectors of the world were desolate. ‘A heap of broken images’ shows the fragmented nature of the world and the snapshots of what the world has become to further pin...
Cleanth Brooks writes: “The fortune-telling of “The Burial of the Dead” will illustrate the general method very satisfactorily. On the surface of the poem the poet reproduces the patter of the charlatan, Madame Sosostris, and there is the surface irony: the contrast between the original use of the Tarot cards and the use made by Madame Sosostris. But each of the details (justified realistically in the palaver of the fortune-teller) assumes a new meaning in the general context of the poem. The...
From the Modernism Lab at Yale University: “Eliot’s Waste Land is I think the justification of the ‘movement,’ of our modern experiment, since 1900,” wrote Ezra Pound shortly after the poem was published in 1922. T.S. Eliot’s poem describes a mood of deep disillusionment stemming both from the collective experience of the first world war and from E...
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The Waste Land, first published in 1922, is arguably the most important poem of the whole twentieth century. It remains a timely poem, even though its origins were very specifically the post-war Europe of 1918-22.
Jan 11, 2024 · 'The Waste Land' is a monumental work of modernist poetry that is renowned for being difficult. This article will help you break the text apart line by line. National Portrait Gallery | Wikimedia Commons T.S. Eliot and a Summary of 'The Waste Land' 'The Waste Land' is arguably the single most influential modernist poem.
Quotes By Theme Alienation Time Mortality Regeneration Tranquility By Section “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” The Waste Land Section I: “The Burial of the Dead” The Waste Land Section II: “A Game of Chess” The Waste Land Section III: “The Fire Sermon” The Waste Land Section IV: “Death by Water”