• Reading Levels 3 - 5

The Waste Land

Cry for help? In happier times, TS Eliot described The Waste Land as "just a piece of rhythmical grumbling".

Post-war London is the setting for this richly allusiveSuggesting rather than explicitly mentioning. Modernist text in five sections. It features a varied cast united by a sense of loss and meaninglessness. Just as London Bridge is falling down, there is an uneasy tension between the modern wasteland and a yearning for salvationBeing saved from harm or ruin, or in a religious context, sin. . Published in 1922, it vacillates between opposites: expanses of lonely desert and ocean against the throngs of the metropolis; the Bible, Hinduism and Buddhism; the supremacy of poetry and the supremacy of music. Its textured intertextual references are not for all — William Carlos Williams reproached Eliot for "return[ing] us to the classroom" — but for some, it is a celebration of all that is right about human creation, even if it is also a lamentShow passionate sadness. of its brokenness.

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