The Waste Land

"the waste land as modern myth" elaborate.

i want to know can we say 'the waste land' as a modern myth?if yes than please explain the myths which are used in 'the waste land'.

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The underlying myths that Eliot uses to provide a framework for "The Waste Land" are those of the Fisher King and the Grail Quest. Both of these myths come to Christian civilization through the ancient Gaelic tradition. Neither is found in the Bible, but both were important enough to Europeans that there was a need to incorporate them into the new European mythology, and so the stories became centered on the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Other examples of these myths can be found in Eschenbach's Parsifal, in de Troyes' Quest of the Grail, and in the various stories of the grail quest surrounding King Arthur and his knights. It is described in works of anthropology, as well, two of which Eliot recommends to readers: Jessie L. Weston's From Ritual to Romance and Sir James Frazier's Golden Bough.

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Perhaps the most important way that Eliot uses these underlying myths in "The Waste Land" to comment on the modern world is to describe modern cultural emptiness within the context of ancient myths of a heroic quest that gives meaning and relevance to life. By doing so, Eliot points out the simple fact of this cultural emptiness and its accompanying spiritual dryness and gives hints throughout the poem of where an individual can search for remedies to it. "These fragments I have shored against my ruins," writes Eliot in line 431. The entire poem can be seen as a collection of "fragments" which provide hints in various ways, especially through the many and diverse literary references that Eliot uses to suggest works that the reader can examine to see how others have attempted their own heroic quests for meaningful existence. Eliot uses the fragmentary descriptions of cultural emptiness and many juxtapositions with descriptions of past cultural richness to point to what he calls the "disassociation of sensibilities" -- the unhinging of the connection of heart and mind in, for instance, modern science.

In 'The Waste Land' T.S Eliot projects several levels of modern experience and these are related to various symbolic wastelands in modern times, such as,

(a) The wasteland of religion (b) the wasteland of spirit (c) the wasteland of the reproductive instinst,sex has become a means of physical satisfaction rather than a source of regeneration.The poet communicates to the reader his own sense of anarchy and futility that he finds everywhere in the contemporary world. The poem is an important document of social criticism of the world to which Eliot belonged. The land having lost its fertility, nothing useful can grow in it; the animals and crops have forgotten the significance of their reproductive function which was meant to rejuvenate the land.The negative condition of the is closely related to that of its lord, the Fisher King, who too, through illness and maiming , has lost his procreative power. This idea links The Waste Land to the legend of the quest of the Christian Knights for the Holy Grail which has been a recurring theme in the literatures of the Christian nations.


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