what did T.S ELIOT mean by the title The Waste Land?

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anishagabriel's profile pic

anishagabriel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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The Wasteland was published in 1922 after being written by T.S Eliot and edited by Ezra pound was the product of a long struggle and continued about 20 years culminating in a literary masterpiece which combined both a challenge to the entire literary tradition and representation of the post world war I era. the poem is made up of five different elements of earth,air and fire respectively.

        The title Waste land is closely linked with the poem written by Eliot.the waste land represents the place place where the hundreds of people died in he world war. the poet says that ''April is the cruellest month'' because April decays the dead body of the soldiers and new plants start to grow in the month of April decaying the dead body of the soldiers.

                          ''April is the cruellest month,breeding 

                           Lilacs out of the dead man,mixing

                           memory and desire, stirring 

                            dull roots''

           Eliot says that modern people are held with lust and infatuation. and Eliot says about the pollution of the river and the contamination of its surroundings and says that instead of the gentle music of the water of the sweet Thames he hears the sound of the sound of the laughter of young men and women enjoying sex which sounds to him like the rattling of the bones.

                        ''Bones caste in a little low dry garret

                         rattled by the rat foot only year to year.''

           Eliot believes that the degeneration of the modern world is due to sex-perversion and violation of the sanctity of sex and dignity of women.thus Eliot refers the modern land as the waste land.          

 

dixon349's profile pic

dixon349 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

Consider this:

T. S. Eliot was inspired to use the title, The Waste Land by a book that he had read on the Legend of the Holy Grail. This can be found in the notes that Eliot wrote to accompany his poem: “Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Macmillan). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble.”

The allusion is to the wounding of the Fisher King and the subsequent sterility of his lands. To restore the King and make his lands fertile again the Grail quester must ask "What ails you?"

Of course, to fully understand this allusion, one must read Miss Weston’s book.

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