T.S. Eliot Essay

1854 words - 7 pages

Throughout Thomas Stearns Eliot's poems run Christian

themes and values that evoke a critical view of society.

Though he published relatively little compared to other

poets of his caliber, he has been recognized as both a poet

and a critic. He himself has been criticized for "unnecessary

obscurity" and for "authorian severity" (Bradley, 1163).

Throughout his poems and other works, he professes a

distinct critique upon society due mainly because of his

belief that Christianity should play a major role in life. In his

poems, Christian beliefs remain in a reoccurring aspect that

reflect his social criticism and his own Christian convictions.

As Eliot began to become financially stable and secure, he

began to look for spiritual outlets to arrive at. This outlet

was that of England's Established Church. Eliot began

keeping a Christian ethical outlook of life. Irving Babbit, a

Harvard professor, also attracted Eliot to the study of

philosophy. Eliot was baptized under the church of England

at the age of thirty-nine and began his literary crusade to

promote Christianity. In 1922, one of Eliot's major works

of modern literature was published. "The Wasteland", full of

images of despair and death is clearly an expression of

Eliot's religious beliefs. At this time during the 1920's, "the

Wasteland" appealed to young intellectual minds because

of the tone it symbolized. It was the post-war period and

Eliot's main focus in "The Wasteland" was the failure of the

Western civilization which World War II seemed to

demonstrate. Gertrude Stein called this period the "lost

generation". Ever since "The Wasteland" portrayed the

feelings of despair of the lost generation, Eliot has been

critical of Western civilization. In 1939, he was quoted as

saying, "And it does not require a Christian attitude to

perceive that the modern system of society has a great that

in it is that inherently bad" (Criterion, 115). The things that

were "inherently bad", Eliot suggested to remove and

replace it with Christian values. In " The Wasteland", he

arrives with his criticism in an appropriate emphasis on

sensitivity and imagery that provokes the reader to feel a

deeper emotion and even a religious reaction. Eliot defends

this method of delivering his poetry by saying: Such

selection of sequence of images and ideas has nothing

chaotic about it. There is a logic of the imagination as well

as a logic of concepts. People who do not appreciate

poetry always find it difficult to distinguish between order

and chaos in the arrangement of images; and even those

who are capable of appreciating poetry cannot depend

upon first impressions. (Criterion, 235) In "The

Wasteland," there is an immediately noticeable reversed

attitude about life and death that evokes a spiritual sense.

Eliot makes death a consequence instead of a test of faith.

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