The Waste Land Summary section by Section by T. S. Eliot

Thomas Stern Eliot most famous literary work is “The Waste Land”. He wrote this famous poem in 1921, Which was published in 1922. The long series of poems divided into five parts. Those are-

1. The Burial of the Dead
2. A Game of Chess
3. The Fire Sermon
4. Death by Water And
5. What the Thunder Said

Behind composing the poems, according to Eliot's own confession, was the direct collaboration of the American poet Ezra Pound. He advised  two areas of Eliot. Which exclude long sections from the poems, to arrange them in cubes, and to break the rhythms. He dedicated the poems to Ezra Pound.  He also took a lot of advice from Vivienne, Eliot's wife, in the final stages of publishing the poems.

These poems are a reflection of the decline of modern culture in devastated Europe during World War I, although Eliot used his poems as the main vehicle for intelligence rather than emotion, or intellectual emotion.
The Waste Land poem Summary section by Section by T. S. Eliot

The Burial of the Death Summary in The Waste Land poem

The title refers firstly to the burial of the dead fertility and secondly, the burial service of the Christian church. It is believed that both burials are followed by re-birth. However, the denizens (the citizens) of the waste land are spiritually dead! They do not like to be disturbed from their stupor or the furtile routine of the modern life. As such any idea of spiritual regeneration is uninviting and painful to them. Moreover, their value system is different from the traditional onexApril is traditionally regarded as a symbol of spring and re- birth, while winter is a symbol of decay and death. However, for the wastelanders, April is a bad and cruel month because it reminds them of their spiritual decay and makes them think of regeneration. They are happy in winter because they can enjoy and make merry during that period. 

A Game of Chess Summary in The Waste Land poem

A Game of Chess is a device used by Middleton in the play entitled Women beware Women where this game is played to hide the seduction of a young girl by a noble man. In this section the poet indicates the failure of sex relationship in the modern world. Sex has become a purely physical kind of entertainment and has lost its moral and social purpose. Sex perversities both in high and low life, have become a matter of mechanical routine.

The Fire Sermon Summary in The Waste Land poem

The title is borrowed from the sermon of Lord Buddha wherein he said that the world is on fire, burning with the fire of hatred, with the fire of infatuation, with birth, old age and death, sorrow lamentation and misery, grief and despair. All these life. are on fire. The pith (essence) of this section is that lust burns dn One can conquer lust by suffering and pain, by passing through the fire. This is opposed to modern idea that sex should be enjoyed without any regulation. Oscar Wilde puts it thus: “The only way of resisting temptation is yielding to it.”

Death By Water Summary in The Waste Land poem

In this section “Death by Water”, Eliot shows the significance of water as a means of purification and re-birth. There are two associations-one from William Shakespeare “The Tempest” and the other from the ancient Egyptian myth of the god of fertility. The death of Phlebas, the Greek sailor, is an example of people who devote themselves to worldly pursuits. Their youth and strength ultimately will be consumed by death. 

The poet tells the story of Phlebas, a young and handsome sailor who was drowned after leading a boring business career. He was caught in a whirlpool and passed through various stages. There is no chance of re-birth for the sailor who represents the modern man, because there is no desire to follow spiritual values. The rejection of higher values is the cause of the inevitable decay of modern civilisation. There waste who warn drow high.

What the Thunder Said Summary in The Waste Land poem

The moral of the section is contained in the message proclaimed by thunder for the liberation of society from spiritual barrenness. There is a need of effort for the realisation of the spiritual goal. The first example is of the mythical journey of the knight to Chapel Perilous in the time of Fisher King who was successful in removing the curse from his land. The second is the Biblical journey of Christ's disciples to Emmaus when they were accompanied by Christ in disguise and who disclosed his identity to confirm the truth of his resurrection. In contrast to the two journeys mentioned above, we have the march of uprooted humanity driven by war and by communist revolution to no particular destination and to no peace in the end.
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