Revisiting The Waste Land
The Waste Land will never be out of the shrunk circle of literature. By shrunk circle, I mean those literary pieces that have kept the attention of readers from the beginning. It has been almost hundred years of the publication of the masterpiece of the twentieth century. It was fresh then; it is fresh now; it will remain fresh forever. The chants that start from the cruelest month of April and go on to the dry rainy season still relate to the current human society. Eliot, of course, knew how to create a forever masterpiece!
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The Waste Land takes the course of negative preaching. From the beginning, the poem takes you the darker side of the world. The darkness of the world is the creation of human society, none else. The darkness was visible in the age when Eliot wrote the poem. The darkness has deepened today, amid the industrial and material developments. Going with the pace our world is moving, the darkness will overtake the sunlight… when shall it happen?
Eliot wept for the degeneration of human society, loss of human emotions, the futility of war, and collapsing faith. He must have hoped for improvement in the coming future. Nevertheless, the Hiroshima disaster in the second world war subverted his hope! What do the instances of modern warfare and terrorism prove? People do not want to water the waste land. Human society has evolved a mechanism to enjoy the flowers of cactus and despise the freshness of rose.
What shall a poet do? Poetry had to serve for delight as well as for wisdom. It seems, however, people have forgotten to extract the lessons from poetry. They take it only for pleasure. In this context, The Waste Land must have served the world as the howl of a hurt poet! The human society could not understand the prudence of Eliot. The intelligent social animals failed to adapt the message of Shantih Shantih Shantih. They could not understand the wisdom of Eliot who prescribed the world the panacea in the form of da, datta, and dayadhvam.
I am in a dilemma over the poem The Waste Land. Was Eliot really capable of creating the masterpiece? Or he just understood that this world has become insane and would never come back to the track, and beat the drum of degenerating humanity. Either way be the case, we should accept our defeat in the hands of Eliot. Shall the world ever change?