Book Review: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Six Reasons to Not Like “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot | Tony's ...

“The Waste Land” is a long poem by English poet Thomas Eliot. “The Waste Land” consists of five chapters: The Burial of the Dead, A Game of Chess, The Fire Sermon, Death by Water, and What the Thunder Said. Eliot used a large number of allusions, including legends and myths, classical literature such as Dante and Shakespeare, religious elements such as Buddhism and the Bible, and even linguistic, anthropological and philosophical information. These allusions are not only the objective counterpart of the poet’s emotions, but also bear the whole structure of the poem through various metaphors. This collection of poems expresses the spiritual disillusionment of the Western generation and regarded as an epoch-making work in modern Western literature.

“The Waste Land” presents a big leap in thinking; the cohesion between images and scenes is often abrupt. The poet’s emotions lie behind strange images and symbols because these images and symbols correspond to the poet’s feelings. With many quotations, allusions, dialogues and scenes, it forms a colorful picture. The picture has different levels and contains an atmosphere that can fully arouse the reader’s imagination. The wilted wasteland — vulgar and ugly people who have died — the hope of resurrection running through the bleak and hazy picture of the whole poem composes the motif of “The Waste Land”. It profoundly shows the original appearance of the western society, which is full of human desires, moral depravity, despicable and dark life.

It also conveys the general disgust, disappointment, and disillusionment of westerners towards the world and reality after WWI. It shows the psychopathy and spiritual crisis of a generation, thus negating the modern Western civilization. At the same time, the poem attributed the depravity of western society to the sins of human beings and regarded the restoration of religious spirit as a panacea in saving the Western world and modern people. “The Waste Land”, a song lyric poem, has an eclectic style of expression, personifying symbolism and even metaphysics. It exhibits a riot of statements and sighs, of lyric and irony, of description and epigrams, of stately and elegant verses, of laughing and urban slang.

-Coreen C.

Creative Writing: “I Awake”

 

I Awake

I awake
And the sea is beckoning.
I long to travel past the silent white wavebreak
Further and further and further until I reach the point in the distance that only I can see
Where the waves are relentless and tempting
And there are no hands to pull me out,
Only pressure to pull me under.

I awake
And the ocean is threatening.
As I stand on the bluff,
I think of nothing, Ithinkofeverything.
Black-indigo water churns below me, chanting in a language I learned long ago;
The darkness laps at my feet, teasing me with a sense of humor I’ll soon learn to appreciate.
I close my eyes,
Forget,
And before I know it
I’m swimming once again.

I awake
And the tide is calm.
During the day
A toddler plays beside me
Under an umbrella,
Safe from the sun’s harsh rays.
Under his breath he mumbles nonsense,
And I smile to no one
As he carefully buries his legs in the sand.

At night
I lay under the sky
Watching the clouds spin,
Listening to the waves break, chanting the lyrics to the song in my head,
Smelling the salty breeze as it whispers across the holes in my sweater,
Feeling your arms wrapped looselytightly around me
And knowing that no matter how rough the sea churns,
You will never let me drown.

-Danielle K.

Poem: Lie of the War

Inspired by All Quiet on the Western Front by E.M. Remarque

The story of many through the eyes of one.

First World War, through the sight of man

Testament of Paul Bäumer, a German soldier

His fight for life, run from death,

Until his final one last breath.

 

World War I, the Allied against the Central.

Assassination of one to bloodshed of many

Young men deceived by “Glory” of war,

Join into the pointless flood,

Of the unforgiving sea of blood

 

Convinced by his schoolmaster,

Paul falls in line to enter the war for his country.

To only find, the truth of the lie

Of a war that could never be weighed

He is one who has been betrayed

 

In a war without a climax, he will fight

Eyes of the tale, sight on the field

The clock ticks on for Paul Bäumer’s time

With Stanislaus “Kat” Katczinsky, the best friend,

Till he has meet his end.

Many will die, few will endure

From enemies to classmates, all will fall.

To those who survive,

Irreversible damage is done.

That will last long after the war is won.

 

Kemmerich, infection of his leg.

Müller, a shot in the stomach.

Detering, death by desertion.

Leer, a shrapnel to the hip.

One by one, their lives are more are gone in a blip.

 

Bit by bit Paul’s sanity fades away.

As each of his friends turn from life to the grave.

Blood smashed against the walls

Voices of every scream

The only thing that fills his dreams.

 

Paul lives on to see his friends die.

With death, comes surviving guilt.

“Home” is a torturous place

Without a person to understand.

Paul is alone with none to hold his hand.

 

The final blow is Kat’s death,

Paul’s best friend and brother

The one who taught him to survive, but

A bullet to the shin, then a shrapnel to the head

Leaves Kat out completely bled.

 

On the day, that was all quiet on the western front

With a face of calm and the happiness of end,

Paul Bäumer dies in October of 1918.

 

No one to support, No one for support.

Left alone with no will and no dream

A shadow without hope. Barely, able to cope.

The life of the “Lost Generation”

That Paul escapes.

 

Lies of the war creates the “Lost Generation”.

Young men tricked by “Glory”,

They survive without hope and a will.

All that they see is the death and the destruction

That will never fade as they live.

 

-Sarah J., 11th grade

Story Poem: One Tale of Pirates and Others

One Tale of Pirates and Others

The cold wind blew as the stars came out;
The blue shining waves tossed about.
The full moon glowed as many clouds went past;
The moon’s light went up a tall ship’s mast. 

On the ship’s mast flew Davey Jones’s banner;
The ship’s side had the name Pirate Manor.
Onto the ship deck, rum boxes were had;
Soon the entire ship’s crew became drunk and mad. 

The captain ordered the bobbing ship to land,
While the men held rum in their hand.
The ship stopped at an empty, deserted beach;
Pirates clambered off and for another bottle they reached. 

The seven pirates were ordered to gather lots of wood.
They built a fire to help liven up the mood.
The other pirates sat as they lit a blazing fire.
Soon the burning fire became increasingly higher. 

One of the pirates had a rather interesting thought,
And stood up and began to sing a song as the rest talk.
The pirates began to sing along to the song
Soon they began to dance all night long.

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