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T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land

T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land

In T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land you perceive many images from the

writing style he uses. In lines 386 – 399 he writes:

In this decayed hole among the mountains

In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing

Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel

There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.

It has no windows, and the door swings,

Dry bones can harm no one.

Only a cock stood on the rooftree

Co co rico co co rico

In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust

Bringing rain

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves

Waited for rain, while the black clouds

Gathered far distant, over Himavant.

The jungle crouched, humped in silence.

In these lines he seems to tell of a graveyard near a chapel in an upcoming

storm. Different images can be seen from the decayed hole in the moonlight,

the empty chapel without windows, and the rooster’s crows as the lightning

and black clouds arrive.

In line 386, “In this decayed hole among the mountains,” probably

refers to an empty grave that brings images of death and the end of life,

or possibly the beginning of a new life to mind. The grave is lit by

moonlight, possibly referring to the white light many people see when they

have near-death experiences. You get a creepy feeling when the wind blows

and makes the “grass sing” in line 387. In these first three lines it

talks of tumbled graves, possibly disturbed by nature, which could tell of

troubled lives, or a troubled second life.

The empty chapel without windows is nearby, as you perceive from

lines 389 and 390:

There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.

It has no windows, and the door swings

It’s image makes you shiver. It could possibly represent itself, in the

sense that many people die there, as in baptism, as well as dying, where

this place may be the starting point for a second, never-ending life. The

chapel has no windows, maybe so that the people inside would not loose

The Power of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

The Power of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

T. S. Eliot, perhaps one of the most controversial poets of modern

times, wrote what many critics consider the most controversial poem of all,

The Waste Land. The Waste Land was written using a fragmented style. This

is a style that is evident in all of Eliot’s writings. There are several

reasons for his using this approach, from a feeling of being isolated, to a

problem articulating thoughts (Bergonzi 18, Cuddy 13, Mack 1745, Martin


What influenced Eliot the most in writing poetry was a book he read

written by the English critic, Arthur Symon, titled The Symbolist Movement

in Literature. This book is about French symbolist writers of the 19th

century. From this book, the author who had the greatest influence on

Eliot is by far Jules Laforgue. Laforgue’s influence is evident in many

of Eliot’s poems, sometimes to the point of plagiarism. Like Laforgue,

Eliot uses dialogue between men and women that doesn’t seem to communicate

a thing. Other author’s had an influence on Eliot as well, like Henry

James and Joseph Conrad. All of these poet’s had the common themes of

estrangement from people and the world, isolationism, and the feeling that

they were failing to articulate their thoughts (Bergonzi 7, 50, Cuddy 30,

Mack 1743, Martin 41, Unger 8).

Henry James influence on Eliot’s poetry is evident in the Jamesian

qualities he uses. For example, the opening verse of The Waste Land ends

with the Jamesian note, “I read, much of the night, and go south in the

winter” (Mack, 1751). Although Lafourge, Conrad, and James were used as


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real influence on mankind’s morals, but he certainly impacted modern

literature (Unger 36).

Works Cited

Bergenzi, Bernard. T. S. Eliot, Collier Books, New York New York, 1972

Cuddy, Lois A., and David H. Hirsch, eds. Critical Essays on T. S. Eliot,

The Waste Land. G. K. Hall

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