The Waste Land

The Waste Land is a prose version of ruined cities and lives after WWI. It is the ambiguity of the century and human’s perplexity and absurdity. It is composed of war debris. There is no consistent meaning in The Waste Land because Eliot portrays mental issues of the inhabitants of The Waste Land. It has strange sound resembling human’s pain and suffering. People are reserved and don’t dare to talk and are afraid of being alone,

"My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.

"Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.

"What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?

"I never know what you are thinking. Think" (111-114).

Nature is dead. There is no water. Even the wind doesn’t have sound. People doesn’t expect anything. Alive people are dying inside and it’s only their physical body that moves.  

“Who is the third who walks always beside you?

When I count, there are only you and I together

But when I look ahead up the white road

There is always another one walking beside you

Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded

I do not know whether a man or a woman

-But who is that on the other side of you?” (359-365). People have become like ghosts and pursuing unknown destinations.  


Some good observations about The Waste Land here. I like the way you describe the inhabitants of the world of the poem as being dead inside their bodies, like ghosts that wander in pursuit of unknown destinations. It highlights the contrast from the Grail Quest (a pursuit of divine knowledge) and the pilgrimage of The Canterbury Tales all the more striking. In class, let's bring attention to the lack of direction and it's connection to literary genre.