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Lost In The Waste Land Essay

1086 words - 5 pages

It touches the heart of every single human being on earth. It does not discriminate against age, sex, race, or religion. It only brings loss, brokenness, and death. We call it war, made it a science, and perfected it; unaware or uncaring about its cost, consequences, destruction, and devastation. Those who have witnessed it become broken, those who have fought in it become dark and disheartened, and those who wait the return of their loved ones live in a constant state of isolation, hopelessness, in despair. There is no coming back from war. It leaves only a waste land of minds, bodies, and spirits. This was a reality in which T. S. Eliot lived and this is why he wrote The Waste ...view middle of the document...

The war's effect on others and Eliot's personal experiences influenced him on such a deep level that it provided him with the mindset with which to write The Waste Land.
The poem is organized into five parts. Each title lays the foundation to build upon and each section alludes to symbols or references "with profound and subtle significance"(cite). Part one, "The Burial of the Dead" shows the view of the modern world; a modern waste land. The imagery Eliot employed is stark and cold. It is a " dead land" with " dull roots" filled with " dead tree[s]" which "give no shelter"(cite). "No sound of water reaches" the waste land. Nothing grows here and nothing is new. This piece is key to providing the reader with the imagery necessary for the setting of the poem. It is an essential allusion to modern day London after World War I.
In part two of The Waste Land, entitled "A Game of Chess", Eliot reveals two exceedingly different worlds in regards to the levels in society. The first depicts a high-born lady and "The chair she sat in, like a burnished throne" (line_). She is completely isolated and alienated from the rest of society. She is empty and lacks meaning in her life. She fills the void of meaningless with material possessions instead of seeking fulfillment in human contact and experiences. This is a metaphor for the state of society, which became fragmented and chaotic, in the aftermath of the war and was reduced to finding meaning in materialism instead of spirituality. The next scene in "A Game of Chess" begins with a discussion between Lil and an unknown person. Lil's husband is coming home from the war soon but she is not excited. She has raised five children alone which has left her "emotionally drained and physically exhausted" (cite). Eliot, again, uses a complex allusion to illustrate the mind-set of not only the female perspective through Lil, but of an entire nation. The war had left millions dead but those who survived were also "emotionally drained and physically exhausted"(cite), just as in the case of the woman named Lil.
Subsequently, in "The Fire Sermon", the third...

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