The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (2/8)

to us—and, thus, offer some hope for an alternative to our own dead world.

When T.S. Eliot writes “London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down” (427). I think this is a transatlantic flash to when the bridge was rebuilt in 1831 and the pieces were sent overseas to Lake Havasu City, in Arizona to be reconstructed. This was the third time out of five that the bridge has been rebuilt/restructured. Also “some have put forward the claim that the nursery rhyme refers to the burying—perhaps even alive (!)—of children at the base foundation of the bridge. This is based on the myth that a bridge would collapse unless a body of a human sacrifice was buried in its foundation as a ‘watchman’”. (American Song Writer) Which also plays to the point that children were lost in the war and will never return.

I feel that in the last four lines of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, there is a paradigm shift that moves the ending to a sense is isolation in which the earth returns to its original status, but society is broken. When T.S. Eliot’s poem says “These fragments I have shored against my ruins / Why then Ile ht you. Hieronvno’s mad again/Datta.   Dayadhvan.   Damyata. /Shantih    shantih    shantih   (430-433). I get the sense that the fragments that were once on the European coast have traveled on waves to the American coast. The fragments must travel in unusual ways, like in The Spanish Play by Thomas Kyd where both must go to extremes to cope with reality. There is a shift in what life will be like now. The last two lines almost sound hypnotic, like the waves that wash ashore, and I feel that items that once entered the ocean as sharp emotional pieces have now organically changed to a smooth surface, representing the depleted feeling of having survived a journey. 


That's some interesting background on London Bridge. If we expand it conceptually to think about it as a path for crossing water, perhaps something about a transatlantic crossing or relation can be inferred. Let's think about this in class.

PS -- It seems that the beginning of your post was cut off. Can you edit the post to restore the beginning? What's there is intriguing!