T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and Morality

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T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and Morality T.S. Eliot and Yulisa Amadu Maddy both address the topics of fear of death and then correlative love of life, but from entirely different points of view. T.S. Eliot wrote during a time when people were questioning relativity, especially moral relativity and it's effect on life after death. Maddy wrote about young boys who were going through that time in a teenager's life when they realize that they will die someday. Thus, teenagers begin to acknowledge death while embarking on their search for love and the meaning of life. During the time period that Eliot wrote "The Waste Land" people were questioning relativity. If time is relative then are not all things relative, including morals? People may have thought that they were living a moral life, but what was that moral life relative to? This lead me to the assumption that people were more fearful of life after death because the had no way to really know how they measured up morally to the standards of God. Eliot used these questions and fears in his poem, "The Waste Land." He displays the feelings of love for life as well as fear of death. Eliot writes of a "dead tree that can give no shelter," and a "dry stone no sound of water." Water symbolizes life and the dry stone implies the lack there of. The tree is dead and thus no shelter from the elements. Eliot continues, "There is shadow under this red rock,/ (Come in under the shadow of this red rock). Shadows imply darkness, death, and sinister dealings . Then Eliot writes, "And I will show you something different from either/ Your shadow at morning striding behind you/ Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;/ I will show you fear in a handful of dust." These are signs pointing to death. Eliot claims he will show you something different than the shadows you see in the morning and at night. The opposite of having a shadow would be not having a shadow, and if someone, other than Peter Pan, ceases to have a shadow then they obviously have ceased to have an earthly existence. The lack of water, a barren tree, the loss of shadows, and finally what I believe to be a Biblical allusion, "I will show you fear in a handful of dust." There is mention in the Bible about originating from ashes and dust and returning to ashes and dust as well.
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