Get help from the best in academic writing.

Waste Land Essay: Spiritual Decay

Spiritual Decay in The Waste Land

In The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot develops his theme of sterility and decay in the post-World War I man by focusing on the aspect of “religious dearth or superficiality reflected in despintualized love” (Pinion). For Eliot, man’s inability to find real love or to move beyond superficial sexual gratification is congruous to the spiritual decay of his soul.

In the first part of the poem, “The Burial of the Dead’~ Eliot’s allusions to two love stories amidst a backdrop of “stony rubbish” and “broken images” illustrates his view of love as something that has lost its ability to blossom in the infertility of modem society (20,22). Eliot alludes to the story of Tristan, a young sailor, who leaves his lover, Isolde, behind when he sails for home. As he lies dying, he waits for the arrival of her ship, but the sea that is to bring her remains empty and desolate. This shows how human longing in love is fr…

… middle of paper …

…erating his hope for the regeneration or rebirth of the human spirit (424-425).

Works Cited and Consulted

Pinion, F.B., A T.S. Eliot Companion: Life and Works, The Macmillan Press (1986)

Southam, B.C., A Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot, Harcourt Brace

Ezra Pound’s In a Station of the Metro

Ezra Pound’s In a Station of the Metro

Before this week, I had never read any poetry by Ezra Pound. I noticed immediately that many of the poems are very short. “In a Station of the Metro,” for example, is two lines. In the essay “Imagism,” the second rule of imagistes is said to be “to use absolutely no word that did not contribute to the presentation.” I think this rule helps explain why some of Pound’s poems are so short. Obeying the second rule of imagistes will be harder the longer the poem is. This rule, however, does not seem to me a rule of imagistes alone, but of most poets from all eras. I don’t think many poets could be found who would say that they try to use superfluous words. Just because a poem is longer than a few lines doesn’t mean the poet is being long-winded. I think the vast majority of poets would say that they only use necessary words in their poetry. Of course it could also be said that words that seem superfluous do actually “contribute to the presentation.” I have a hard time with letting Pound claim this rule as one of the imagistes only.

Besides it’s length, “In a Station of the Metro” was a poem I read with interest because it is on the syllabus as one of the poems to read carefully. I thought it strange that I was supposed to pay attention to this poem. Truly, it initially struck me as the kind of poem that I tried to write in elementary school. Not that I ever wrote anything interesting, but the shortness of the poem and the pairing of two very different images was pretty much the basis of my poetry as a kid. I thought randomness made poems deep.

The title of this poem is very important as it places the reader in the metro station. While titles of poems and books are always important, this poem would be quite lost without it’s title. The title lets us know that “the apparition of these faces in the crowd” takes place in the metro station, not the stadium or the shopping mall or any other crowded place. By placing the reader with the title, the poem lets the reader know that the first image of the poem, the “faces in the crowd,” is something that belongs to the location of the speaker.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.