The Wasteland Ts Eliot Essay

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland Essay

3278 Words14 Pages

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland

In T.S. Eliot’s most famous poem The Wasteland, a bleak picture of post-war London civilization is illuminated. The inhabitants of Eliot’s wasteland are living in a morally bankrupt and spiritually lost society. Through fragmented narration, Eliot recalls tales of lost love, misplaced lust, forgone spirituality, fruitless pilgrimages, and the “living dead”- those who shuffle through life without a care. These tales are the personal attempts of each person to fulfill the desires which plague them, though none ever stop to consider that what they want may not be what they need, nor do they consider why it is they feel they must do these things. Through studies in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic perspective…show more content…

It is not, however, a reasonable excuse for their actions. As Jean-Paul Sartre states in his essay “The Humanism of Existentialism,” “Man is nothing, but what he makes of himself” (36). Under such a view the inhabitants, and humanity in general, are completely responsible for the choices they make and the state of affairs they find themselves in. It is not enough for them to just do whatever they feel like doing. Humanity must go further and we must know that we are making an active choice and will be forced to live with the consequences of such a decision. There is, yet, one more way to look at the actions and decisions of humanity. In The Ethics of Sex, Mark Jordan states, “[One] require[s] rather a persuasion to change his actions” (55). What this means is that, in order to make a big change to the corrupt way we are living, humanity must see the consequences of our actions. Right now we have not see enough reaction or negative consequences and without that, humans will continue to go for the easiest search and not work toward something we actually need. However, Jordan believes that this change will come by something God does, but this is not the way that people will find change. Instead, we must look within ourselves, not at outside forces, such as God, to find a reason to change. Otherwise humanity will continue the mistaken searches and never find the fulfillment needed.

One of the most obvious ways that the

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Essay on T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

1886 Words8 Pages

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

“Both the hysteric and the mystic transgress the linear syntax and logic governing the established symbolic order.”
-Helen Bennett

It is perhaps part of the unique genius of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” that both critics and lay readers have repeatedly felt forced to look outside the published text of the poem for clues as to its meaning. The text’s fragmented, seemingly violated body seems to exhibit wounds through which its significance has slipped, creating a “difficulty caused by the author’s having left out something which the reader is used to finding; so that the reader, bewildered, gropes about for what is absent…a kind of ‘meaning’ which is not there, and is not meant to be there”…show more content…

Asked to describe what sort of life might spring up out of the “stony rubbish” (20) of the poem’s sterile landscape by an interlocutor who seems – by the force of the allusion to Ezekiel – to be a representative of some sort of transcendent reality, there seems to be no way for the poet to answer. The speaker continues in almost accusatory tone: “You cannot say, or guess, for you know only/ A heap of broken images” (21-22), and it is in this line that Eliot questions the potential for meaning inherent in language. The self is unable to explicate the nature of this life for his only language is a mere “heap” – a disordered pile of “broken images”. Here Eliot describes language as representation, and in this mode it is doubly useless; first, because it is “broken”, fragmented and divorced from the very realities it was intended to describe, and second, because it consists of mere “images” – representations of things and not the things themselves. One might argue that language, though only “a heap of broken images,” does achieve a certain reflexivity here, for in that disordered pile of reflections lies a landscape “where the sun beats,/ And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief” (22-23). But the space that language presents here is a sterile, “dead” one, without evidence of the growth of either root or branch. Absent too are the Starnbergersee, the “shower of rain” (9), and the verdant Hofgarten which

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