In the poem, The Waste Land, there are many images given that help to allude to a deeper meaning and give a hidden feeling to what is being read. In the third part of the poem, the lines “Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.” (Part III, line 5) give the feeling of mourning and gloom. This feel is directly related to the lines that follow which talk about crying and death. The mood for the rest of the part has dark and ominous setting because of this line. The image is added to by the lines that precede it as well. It uses the words “Clutch” as in a last grasp of life before death and “sink” as in dying (line 2). The main theme, however, is the river Thames. This is the river that the dead souls go to before crossing over to death. By saying that this person wants the river to run softly before the song ends indicates that he is almost dead, and after his story has been said, he will be ready to accept death. Death in itself is a very dark topic. In relation to the title of the poem, this passage alludes to the time and place before death. This place is in neither the living world nor the dead, but the hazy region in between. This area could be called a waste land and this is where the river Thames lies, where neither the living nor the dead reside. So there is a hidden allusion to the title of the poem. These lines are very effective because of the mood that they set. They give the mood of sadness and mourning which gives deeper meanings to the rest of the part. Throughout the preceding lines after the “Sweet Thames”, there is a sad mood as the rest of the part plays out. Even reading something cheerful in the same part will have an ominous feel. This is why this image is so effective because it is able to set the feeling for the rest of the poem in this part. It is also a sign of excellent poetry, being able to create this overall aura of sadness for a particular part is outstanding.
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