T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land is filled with a variety of images and themes. Two outstanding themes are desolation and death without rebirth. Eliot employs many different images related to these two important themes.
The most prominent image where desolation is concerned is a wasteland: a barren, rocky landscape lacking any life or water. The absence of water is mentioned over and over to suggest no life can ever exist in this desert, as water is a life-providing substance. Without it, death prevails. The dry, rocky land is desolate. Its waterless features are incapable of supporting life. the journey through this land is a harsh one: it is filled with images of other lives which are just as desolate and infertile as the land itself. One woman aborts an illegitimate child, another ignores her husbands presence in bed. Life is disregarded as worthless in both instances, as well as in th...
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...t of a dead land." The author sees the renewal of life doomed from the beginning, as in the end it will die anyway. Coming to terms with a disillusioned perception of the meaning of life is a difficult action. Eliot takes a journey across a waste and through hopeless lives to acknowledge life does not necessarily renew itself.
Eliot, T. S. "The Waste Land." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. 2. 6th ed. Ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1993.
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