Essay PreviewMore ↓
All is Not Well in The Waste Land
Eliot's "The Waste Land" doesn't make sense. No matter how many symbols and allusions are explained by critics or Eliot himself, no matter how many fertility gods and Eastern philosophies are dragged into it, the poem does not make sense. But then, it doesn't need to in order to be good or to have a purpose. All it needs is to have meaning, and something need not make sense to mean something. The meaning "The Waste Land" holds for me is of something wrong - something so twisted and "rotten," as to be intrinsically wrong. For me, this wrongness winds itself in and out of the passages and images of the poem and doesn't seem to have any hope of being righted until the end - in the last few lines.
In every time, in every place in "The Waste Land," something is wrong. The world of the poem is one where April, the season when growing things return after winter, is "the cruellest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land," the "son of man" knows only "a heap of broken images," and there is "fear in a handful of dust." Each symbol and each allusion contains a grotesque element - one that was already there or one incorporated by Eliot. Lines 72-73 are such a nice, normal way to speak about a garden ("'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?/'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?'"), except that the thing which has been planted is a corpse, and it's in danger of being dug up by a Dog.
T'ie different ways of looking at life are all tainted. Someone says, "'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street/'With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow?/'What shall we ever do'?'" The talkative woman gossips of the problems in another woman's marriage and of her abortion, ending with the last words of Ophelia, spoken in her madness. Tiresias, the blind prophet, foretells the scene of a woman who endures the caresses of her lover, and, glad when they are over and he is gone, forgets about the incident entirely. She merely "puts a record on the gramophone."
The descriptions are often shocking and ugly, especially in the midst of a beautiful scene.
How to Cite this Page
"Waste Land Essay: All is Not Well." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Dec 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Impact of Images on the Structure of The Waste Land Many of the images that give bounds to the structure of "The Waste Land" relate to the annual cycle of life with which ancient peoples closely bound up their own lives. Eliot himself points out the importance of the ancient cycle of life by acknowledging a "general indebtedness," as the anthologists' introduction to the poem points out, to Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough and especially the volumes Adonis, Attis, Osiris. These two volumes deal with ancient beliefs about cycles in the life of vegetation and with ceremonies meant to insure fertility.... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
961 words (2.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Eliot Waste Land Morals Essays]
1189 words (3.4 pages)
- The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot is considered an open text that could be regarded as a seminal piece of modern literature. By the term modernism, Graff (in Barth  cited in Collins, 1992, 328) suggests that it can be understood to mean a movement that “began as a criticism of nineteenth-century bourgeois culture, a rejection of both its values and its most favored style, realism.” The period of modernity is defined by Best and Kellner (1991, 2) as “a historical periodizing term which refers to the epoch that follows the ‘Middle Ages’ or feudalism.” Their definition potentially covers an era that spans of hundreds of years which is out with the scope of the length of this essay.... [tags: The Waste Land]
2333 words (6.7 pages)
- T.S. Eliot’s Powerful Use of Fragmentation in The Waste Land T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is an elaborate and mysterious montage of lines from other works, fleeting observations, conversations, scenery, and even languages. Though this approach seems to render the poem needlessly oblique, this style allows the poem to achieve multi-layered significance impossible in a more straightforward poetic style. Eliot’s use of fragmentation in The Waste Land operates on three levels: first, to parallel the broken society and relationships the poem portrays; second, to deconstruct the reader’s familiar context, creating an individualized sense of disconnection; and third, to challenge the reader to see... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
2713 words (7.8 pages)
- T. S. Eliot drafted The Waste Land during a trip to Lausanne, Switzerland to consult a psychologist for what he described as mild case of nerves. He sent the manuscript to Ezra Pound for editing assistance. Between them the draft was extensively edited and published in 1922. As a modernist poet, Eliot struggled to remove the voice of the author from his work but the work is still a reflection of the author’s interpretation. He paints the picture as he sees it for the readers to view and interpret from their own perspective.... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
1541 words (4.4 pages)
- As evidenced by his writings, T.S. Eliot has a profound appreciation for the use of myth as a point of departure for maintaining a cultural or historical perspective. In "The Waste Land," his employment of myth is not simply an allusive and metaphorical tactic, but rather an attempt at relating his own ideas and tropes to universals in order to establish some external order for the chaos he is presenting: "The element of myth in his art is not so much a creative method, a resumption of the role of mythic poet, as it is an intellectual strategy, a device for gaining perspective on himself and on his myth-forsaken time" (Ellmann, 621).... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
2653 words (7.6 pages)
- T.S Eliot's The Waste Land In T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land you perceive many images from the writing style he uses. In lines 386 - 399 he writes: In this decayed hole among the mountains In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home. It has no windows, and the door swings, Dry bones can harm no one. Only a cock stood on the rooftree Co co rico co co rico In a flash of lightning.... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
530 words (1.5 pages)
- Underlying Myths in The Waste Land The underlying myths that Eliot uses to provide a framework for "The Waste Land" are those of the Fisher King and the Grail Quest. Both of these myths come to Christian civilization through the ancient Gaelic tradition. Neither is found in the Bible, but both were important enough to Europeans that there was a need to incorporate them into the new European mythology, and so the stories became centered on the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
582 words (1.7 pages)
- The Power of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land T. S. Eliot, perhaps one of the most controversial poets of modern times, wrote what many critics consider the most controversial poem of all, The Waste Land. The Waste Land was written using a fragmented style. This is a style that is evident in all of Eliot's writings. There are several reasons for his using this approach, from a feeling of being isolated, to a problem articulating thoughts (Bergonzi 18, Cuddy 13, Mack 1745, Martin 102).... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
1515 words (4.3 pages)
- Love and Sex in The Waste Land Attitudes toward love and sex are one of the major themes of the poem. The introduction to "The Waste Land" in The Norton Anthology of English Literature states that "This is a poem about spiritual dryness," and much of this spiritual dryness relates to the nature of the modern sexual experience (although there are also other aspects of spiritual dryness the introduction also notes that major themes include a lack of a "regenerating belief" that gives "significance and value to people" and a type of death that "heralds no resurrection").... [tags: T.S. Eliot Waste Land Essays]
955 words (2.7 pages)
Other things point to the wrongness that pervades the poem. The mountains are all rock, and there is no water ("If there were water/And no rock/If there were rock/And also water"). And what if there were? "But there is no water." The poem does not answer its own question, maybe because the presence of water would make things right.
The end of "The Waste Land" seems to hold some comfort, some hope that the wrongness in the world need not be perpetuated. "Shall I at least set my lands in order?/...Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata./Shantih shantih shantih."
The poem does not offer a cause or an explanation - a reason why, - nor does it have any real solution, but it seems to me that each situation presented in Eliot's "The Waste Land" is another way of showing how all is not as it should be and never has been, although there is a possibility that it could be.