The Waste Land

Exploring Death and Resurrection in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land College

T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem The Waste Land is widely considered the most influential work of the twentieth century. Composed of five compelling parts, Eliot’s genius work forms an intricate collage of modern society. Many scholars view The Waste Land as Eliot expressing his fear and terror about the fate of humanity and culture. Modernists such as Eliot tend to focus on the decline of Western culture, and romanticize the beauty that their culture had once possessed. The world described in The Waste Land is full of human isolation and skepticism, similar to the everyday world Eliot lived in and observed post World War I. Though The Waste Land is centered on negative imagery and the overall theme of death, Eliot did not mean to have the work be without hope. Out of all of the negativity happening in society, The Waste Land Eliot focuses heavily on the theme of rebirth and resurrection.

In the aftermath and devastation of WWI, Eliot saw hope in society—because after death and desolation can only come rebirth and positivity. World War I was the turning point of the old world into the new world, the end of the Victorian Era, with its aftermath still effecting modern society today. In 1914 millions of people marched against each other in...

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