The Waste Land Study Guide
The Waste Land study guide contains a biography of T.S. Eliot, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
The poem begins with a section entitled "The Burial of the Dead." In it, the narrator -- perhaps a representation of Eliot himself -- describes the seasons. Spring brings "memory and desire," and so the narrator's memory drifts back to times in Munich, to childhood sled rides, and to a possible romance with a "hyacinth girl." The memories only go so far, however. The narrator is now surrounded by a desolate land full of "stony rubbish."
He remembers a fortune-teller named Madame Sosostris who said he was "the drowned Phoenician Sailor" and that he should "fear death by water." Next he finds himself on London Bridge, surrounded by a crowd of people. He spots a friend of his from wartime, and calls out to him.
The next section, "A Game of…
Read the full The Waste Land Summary
- The Waste Land Summary
- About The Waste Land
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Section I: "The Burial of the Dead"
- Summary and Analysis of Section II: "A Game of Chess"
- Summary and Analysis of Section III: "The Fire Sermon"
- Summary and Analysis of Section IV: “Death by Water” and “What the Thunder Said”
- "The Waste Land" and the Holy Grail
- Related Links on The Waste Land
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources