The Waste Land

I found this poem to be extremely interesting, but challenging as well. I have heard reference to it in the past, both in English classes and in movies, but have never actually read it myself. I found the language to beautiful and striking but the constant change of characters (I'll call them characters, since it seems like a more lively way to describe them) was a bit hard to keep up with. I had to reread it a few times to fuly grasp who was being spoken about and when they were being spoken about. The passages with diaglogue also were difficult to follow at first and required further investigation. 

The passage that most caught my interest was the opening passage of the first section. T.S. Elliot described April as "the cruelest month." I personally love spring and find April to be a month filled with the beauty and promise of summer. Yet Elliot seems to feel the opposite. He describes the lilacs as "blossoming out of dead land." Elliot and I also seem to hold vastly different views on the season of winter. While he describes it as "warm, covering the earth in forgetful snow.", I find winter to be depressing, cold and bleak. This flip flop of convention views of the seasons seems to set the tone for the rest of the poem however. 

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I think you brought up an interesting point: Eliot inverts the usual expectations of the seasons. For some reason, Eliot finds comfort in the snow, yet cruelty in the Spring. My only thoughts on this would be that snow is a sort of welcomed ignorance or deception. For instance, the snow covers everything with a blanket of white. The white could either be interpreted as nothingness or purity. Either way, it replaces what I would imagine as the carnage-covered battle grounds of WWI. April, the melting of the snow, reveals these things once again. Perhaps this is Eliot trying to cope with the events occurring around him. Just an idea.

Going off of both your thoughts, I agree the reference to April as cruel and  the "forgetful snow" of winter are helpful images that set the stage for the rest of the poem. As the snow of winter melts "the wasteland" beneath is revealed. The repressed memories of war come alive again and are inescapable. It's almost like Eliot's poem is one of the lilacs springing out of the ground in the waste land.

 

Similarly to Brooke, I had never read The Waste Land before this class, I'd only heard it mentioned in passing by other professors or in other works I have read. I agree with Brooke about the differing opinions on the seasons.  Eliot describes the seasons in a way that is totally different than how I identify to the seasons. Like Brooke, I cannot stand winter, I think it is the absolute worst season, more deserving of the phrase "the cruellest month" than spring by far.  But Eliot's different views on the seasons adds a lot to his poem and it goes along with the confusion of his poem.  The intro of the poem being so unconventional in this way definitley sets the stage for the rest of the poem and helped me to learn a little about what to expect from the rest of the poem.