Could you please summarize the poem "The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot?

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It isn't easy to summarize this poem.  There are so many images embedded, and a succinct summary will leave much out, but I will do my best for you.

The first part, entitled "The Burial of the Dead" is about death, just as the title suggests.  The images are of the changes in seasons, the passing of time, the death of plants, etc. in the midst of spring turning to summer which in turn changes to fall, and then winter.  There are also references to Germany, which to the audience of this poem at the time it was written would have evoked images of war since WWI had just ended.  He mentions also in this section that humanity is trapped in its own wasteland...rubbish left behind by the war, by dead feelings, by going through the motions of living without really living...a sort of depression of spirit, or walking in a fog...a living dead.

Section 2 of the poem, "A Game of Chess", is just what the title suggests:  a strategy for conquering your opponent.  In this section, Eliot moves from death to sex.  The images of the idle rich and the chess game that is being played out is full of seduction and divide and conquer flirtation.  Sex is also connected with procreation or perhaps even rebirth, so perhaps this section takes on a more hopeful view than the preceding one.  We move from the idle rich to the extremely poor represented by Albert and his wife.  Albert has just gotten out of the army and wants "a good time" or sex with his wife.  She has five children and he is drinking in the bar before going home to all of them and his good time.  In this story, the repetition of the "Hurry up please its time" is meant to remind us of the last call in a bar.  Perhaps she doesn't want sex as it produces too many children, and he needs the drink in order to ignore her complaints and her "antique" look complete with her bad teeth.  Instead of being a loving and nurturing experience between two people who love each other, sex for them has become loveless and perhaps even meaningless.

The third section, "The Fire Sermon", continues to address loveless sex.  The first images indicate the dying fertility of plantlife and other signs of lifelessness.  Throughout the section, he refers to rapes, indifferent women, and loveless sex.  The title suggests that men should attempt to douse or extinguish the "burning" fires of lust and passion.

The fourth section, "Death by Water", is the shortest section of the poem.  Eliot returns to the theme of death, and resurrects a sailor he first mentioned in section two of the poem.  He describes the sailor's drowning and how his body is torn apart by the rough sea.

Section five, "What the Thunder Said", continues to build on the themes of death and infertility.  It also offers hope that these things can be corrected and overcome.  The title refers back to an Indian belief that be communing with nature, people can restore life to the living deadness of the wasteland.  There are images of Jesus Christ, resurrection, rebirth, violence, death, moral decay and chapels.  Eliot's last words indicate that his message may be that only through peace can we restore life and rebirth to the wasteland of our own making.

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