Friday, February 10, 2017

Water is life

T.S. Eliot uses water as a symbol for life and rebirth throughout The Waste Land. It makes sense because for one water is necessary for life, but also baptism, a form of  "rebirth", includes someone being washed with water. Eliot's "waste land" is barren, having no water, and is therefore lacking in life and also spiritual rebirth. Eliot seems to be criticizing humanity for not having a sense of motivation or appreciation for life. Water is a major symbol in the poem, and the rain in the end seems to offer hope for humanity. The beginning of part five starts by saying there is rock and no water. This could mean that society focuses too much on material possessions and is missing a sort of spiritual rebirth. In the end when the thunder speaks and offers a solution, the rain comes, providing new life. I think Eliot is issuing a call for action to save humanity from this barren "wasteland" and create a newly inspired society.

4 comments:

Joseph Martin said...

I do believe that part 5 is the most optimistic of the five parts, even though all of them express a general doubt of society and foreshadow troubles to come. The frequent use of water can be seen as representing life, but I believe it can be interpreted many ways. First of all, we cannot forget the very short part 4, which is itself titled "Death by Water." This juxtaposes the statement that water is life, but instead helps define water as something in between death and life. Therefore, I think water as something that expresses rebirth as mentioned above is more accurate than water as life. Water also relates to prophecy in regards to the Drowned Phoenician sailor tarot card, and also because of the play on words with "profit" and "prophet" in part 4. The evidently dual nature of water just goes to show the start juxtaposition that Eliot utilizes.

Rickeia Coleman said...

Water is a symbol of resurrection in the wasteland. Throughout the whole poem there seems to be constant death imagery an imagery of dead land that cannot produce any life. However, in the end water is present. This symbolizes how the wasteland is coming to an end because water acts as the savior. In a way, water acts as the needed hanged man to save the day because it ends up restoring the wasteland from its infertility.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I also think that it is very relevant that Madame Sosostris says to "fear death by water". To me, Madame Sosostris represents the leaders of Europe. She claims that water is abundant, to the point that it poses a significant danger. But the danger does not lie in the water, rather the lack thereof.

Savannah Watermeier said...

There are a few references to water. For instance, Phlebas is rotting underwater. Of course, there is still a reference to death. Over all, The Waste Land is very barren. Water is essential to life. I think one of the reason there is no water is because of the war. There is lots of death, therefore no water.