The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot

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In the twentieth century, T.S. Eliot transformed the traditional poetry form into a more modern style. Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 26, 1888. At the age of 25, Eliot moved to England where he began his career as a poet. Eliot greatly attracted the modernist movement, which was poetry written in the reaction of Victorian poetry. His first poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was known as one of the most famous pieces of the Modernist movement. In his poetry, Eliot combines themes such as aridity, sexuality, and living death. He uses techniques such as narration, historical, literary, and mythic allusions. Using themes and techniques from his earlier work, Eliot publishes The Wasteland.

The Wasteland is a poem Eliot wrote after his divorce with his wife Vivienne Haighwood. Critics say the title of the poem, the wasteland, comes from his thoughts on his marriage. This poem is considered to be “one of the most difficult poems in a difficult literary period”. The Wasteland is a poem that is said to be of his most influential work. At first glance, critics considered the poem to be too modern but then opinions changed as they realized the poem reflected Eliot’s disillusionment with the moral decay of World War I in Europe. T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland combines theme, style, and symbolism to explore life and death.

The Wasteland was written in 1922 and is a long poem divided into five sections. The first section is called “Burial of the Dead” which is a reference to a burial service in a church. In the poem it says that April is the cruelest month, which is ironic because April is normally considered to be the month of renewal. In the beginning of the poem, the passing of seasons, symbolizes a natural c...

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...lore life and death in his poetry. He portrays significant themes of disillusionment and restoration. Eliot believes in restoring the bad having new beginnings. In conclusion, Eliot revolutionizes poetry to a new level and is one of the most prestigious poets to this day.

Works Cited

Childs, John Steven. "The Waste Land." Magill’s Survey of World Literature. Rev. ed. Salem, 2009 Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

Conlon, John J. "The Waste Land." Magill’s Survey of American Literature, Rev. ed. Salem, 2006. Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

Sullivan, James. "The Waste Land." Masterplots, 4th ed. Salem, 2010. Literary Reference Center. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.

“The Waste Land” Poetry for Students. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 20. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 246-266. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.

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