The Waste Land


How do I describe the setting of the story

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In the second stanza, Eliot describes a land of “stony rubbish” – arid, sterile, devoid of life, quite simply the “waste land” of the poem’s title. Eliot quotes Ezekiel 2.1 and Ecclesiastes 12.5, using biblical language to construct a sort of dialogue between the narrator –- the “son of man” -– and a higher power. The former is desperately searching for some sign of life -– “roots that clutch,” branches that grow -- but all he can find are dry stones, dead trees, and “a heap of broken images.” We have here a forsaken plane that offers no relief from the beating sun, and no trace of water.