The Connection of Mortality with One’s Love of Life in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and Yulisa Amadu Maddy's No Past No Present No Future

The Connection of Mortality with One’s Love of Life in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and Yulisa Amadu Maddy's No Past No Present No Future

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The Connection of Mortality with One’s Love of Life in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and Yulisa Amadu Maddy's No Past No Present No Future


Through many writers’ works the correlation of mortality and love of life is strongly enforced. This connection is one that is easy to illustrate and easy to grasp because it is experienced by humans daily. For instance, when a loved one passes away, even though there is time for mourning, there is also an immediate appreciation for one’s life merely because they are living. In turn, the correspondence of mortality and a stronger love for life is also evident in every day life when things get hard and then one is confronted by some one else whom has an even bigger problem, then making the original problem seem minute. This is seen as making the bad look worse so then the bad looks good and the good looks even better. The connection of mortality and one’s love for life is seen in both T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and Yulisa Amadu Maddy’s No Past No Present No Future.

Eliot’s words "I will show you fear in a handful of dust" imitate much of his attitude during the poem The Waste Land. This quote can be interpreted in different ways. One way is that the dust Eliot mentions is a symbol for humans starting as dust and returning to dust in death. Therefore, the quote would be expressing the feeling of fearing death. By exemplifying this fear, Eliot then enables his audience to take it further to appreciating life because the only other choice is death.

In Eliot’s The Wasteland, It seems as if the more his world is falling apart, the more he wants to break it down and find what really matters or what he really needs to continue living and to truly appreciate life. As he examines his surroundings, he realizes so much of it is in ruins, and that alone makes him feel as though his own life is slipping away, as if he does not even control his own fate. Eliot also realizes how upside down and backward his world is now functioning. Everything that was once right is now wrong, and everything that once seemed moral is not moral any more. Once this is brought to his attention, Eliot decides the only way to overcome this is to do away with the bad and keep only the good, then reforming the old into a new overall positive and secure place of true life.

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"The Connection of Mortality with One’s Love of Life in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and Yulisa Amadu Maddy's No Past No Present No Future." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Oct 2019
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Instead of simply giving up and pessimistically continuing on in life until it is over, he steps up and tries to make a difference. He collects the pieces that are worth collecting and then tries to reestablish his life so that he can go on functioning in this upside down world. Therefore, the more Eliot is confronted with mortality, the more he strives to improve his life and truly appreciate the gift of life.

In Maddy’s No Past No Present No Future, he frequently gives evidence of the character’s sense to appreciate life more when faced with mortality, just as Eliot exemplifies in his poem. This is very evident as the boys are growing up and experience many hardships with each other and their family. For example when they are separated from their parents for various reasons, whether it be death or circumstantial, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they make it a point to take on responsibility and survive. The love of life a child has is observed very easily merely by watching their innocent actions and their expressions, just as Maddy presents to us in No Past No Present No Future.

Another main part of Maddy’s story that shows the attitude of appreciating life more when confronted with mortality is toward the end of the book when Santigie is trying to get Joe Bengoh to attend Ade’s wedding with him. By seeking out Joe, Santigie is informed of many troubles he has had over the past few years, and mainly the struggle he has had appreciating life in general. Joe’s negative attitudes are caused from money and the conflicts with his friendship with Ade. After many incidents, Joe decides his life is worthless, and attempts to commit suicide. After hearing this story Santigie is confronted personally with the possibility of his friends mortality which causes him to personally appreciate the blessing of life. Santigie has hope that with his influence, Joe too will be able to appreciate life to the multitude that Santigie does. By presenting these circumstances, Maddy shows how people in general are confronted with the fear of death and mortality and in turn, how that simple yet sometimes extreme fear can make them appreciate the beauty life has bestowed upon us.

The style and techniques Eliot and Maddy use in their writings allow their audience to realize how precious life really is. Some might say the determination to succeed as shown in their works is ignorance and lack of common sense, but as exemplified in these writer’s words, it is not ignorance, it is perseverance. The only way a reader would truly find this to be true after reading something is by the arrangement of events. By clearly stating the setting and situations before jumping into the plot, Eliot and Maddy enable their audience to perceive their writing with certain opinions and thoughts, rather than completely leaving them in the dust.

Sometimes when people go about life loving it for what it’s worth, people think of that as stupidity. To many, loving life is simply a result of the correlation of mortality and one’s love of life. This correlation provides these feelings by the affect it has to enable someone to truly realize how blessed they are to experience the gift of life, no matter how bad life may get. One is immediately able to notice and also develop this appreciation due to the explicit examples presented by Eliot’s poem and Maddy’s book.


Works Consulted

Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land, Prufrock and Other Poems. New York: Dover, 1998. ISBN: 0486400611.

Hult, Christine A., and Thomas N. Huckin. The New Century Handbook: Interactive Edition. New York: Allyn, 1999. ISBN: 0205297110.

Maddy, Yulisa Amadu. No Past No Present No Future. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann-Reed, 1996. ISBN: 0435905228
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