T. S. Eliot writes, in the opening of his epic poem "The Wasteland," April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dead tubers. (1-7) Traditionally, spring has been viewed as a positive event in life, when nature wakes up from winter's slumber. However, in this Modernist poem, April, the month when spring takes full hold, is called the "cruelest month." Why? Please explain why in the context of the important literary movement of Modernism. Please use the textbook or a credible literary source to first define the literary Modernism of the early twentieth century. Include an introduction that narrows to a thesis, citing any facts used, then body paragraphs on the paragraph plan of *main idea/topic sentence *quote from the reading *analysis (how and why your main idea and quotes come together to support your ideas), and then conclusion.

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The passage in question is the opening stanza of "The Waste Land," so the words themselves serve as a kind of "April," an indication (a warning?) of what the poem will do to the mind of the reader. April is cruel by contrast to the winter, which “covered us in forgetful snow” and “kept us warm,” because April is the return of action and feeling—"memory and desire"—to a land which has been “dead” and therefore at peace. April is a time of awakenings, stirring from hibernation, hunger after a long winter. It is the time of year when work must begin again.

The speaker of the poem dreads this awakening and the work that it heralds; he dreads the relentlessness of nature, which forces the land out of stasis and back into life. He is not ready to return to life, here in his "Unreal City." In the following stanzas, he describes being jostled by crowds of people on London Bridge and feeling lost among them. Nobody acknowledges anyone else, and when the speaker tries to hail a...

(The entire section contains 635 words.)

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