T.S. Eliot projects several levels of modern experience in ‘The Waste Land’. These are related to various symbolic Waste Lands in modern times such as ( a ) The Waste Land, religion where there are but no water
( b ) The Waste Land of spirit, where all moral springs are dried up and ( c ) The Waste Land of the reproductive instinct where sex has become a means of physical gratification rather than a source of regeneration. The Wasteland is mainly concerned with the theme of barrenness in the mythical Waste Land of the twentieth century. The land has lost its fertility. Nothing useful can grow in it. The animals and crops have no rejuvenated land for reproductive function. The curse on the land and its master, the Fisher king is linked to the quest for the Holy Grail. Death, life-in-death and death- in- life are some of the other themes of the poem. Life devoid of meaning is a kind of spiritual death. Eliot thinks that Easter Philosophy could possibly redeem Europe from its corruption and degradation. The poem Waste Land consists of five parts: 1. The Burial of the Dead, II A Game of Chess, III The Fire sermon, IV. Death by Water and V. What the thunder said. All the parts, though separate, has made them into a unified poem. What is the most important feature is the rich use of myth, imagery and symbolism. The first line of the ‘The Waste Land’- ‘April is the cruelest month’, is an inversion of popular myth that April is a time of warmth, love and joy. A way of life or survival by instinct is contrasted by Eliot. April is the popular symbol of growth and regeneration. The symbolism of fertility and sterility is noticed in the images of the Hyacinth Girl. Madame Sosostris, the Phoenician sailor, and the corpse in the garden, which are linked to speculations on life, life in death, death-in-life, decay and renewal, memory and desire. The fertility theme is projected through the symbolism of spring rain, wet hair and vegetation and flowers. At the same time, it is...
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