T.S. Eliot * The Wastelands * What the Thunder Said (V)

“What the Thunder Said” is set in various places. The first three stanzas are set in a desolate and deserted place where it resembles a true waste land, emphasizing the dire need of society for salvation. “Falling towers” and “unreal cities” indicates the destruction and corruption within society. The title of this part has been derived from an Indian legend, which says that all beings, the men, devils and as well as gods, listen to what the thunder says in order to restore life to the “wasteland”.

This part starts off with a setting of a rocky place with no water. Water here symbolizes salvation and hope, thus the beginning of part V reflects on a society where civilization is corrupted, impure, given in temptations – in need of salvation. As the poem progresses, we reach another setting where civilization is engulf in fire which is both a purifying and destructive element and it therefore plays a significant role in the rebirth and regeneration of society. This resembles an apocalypse.Later on, hope is finally coming – re-emergence of water bringing with it the hope of rebirth by the thunder. Thunder plays an important role. When it speaks, Eliot describes it as God delivering three groups of followers -– men, demons, and the gods -– the sound “Da”: Datta for humans which means to give – to curb man’s greed, dayadhvam for devils which means to have compassion and empathy for others, and damyata for gods which means to control for they are wild and rebellious. Together, God gives these three orders which add up to a consistent moral perspective, composure, generosity, and empathy lying at the core, to reach inner peace.


T.S. Eliot * The Wastelands * Death by Water (IV)

T.S. Eliot’s major themes are fading youth and aging – tempered throughout by a feeling of inadequacy, fear and indecisiveness. He writes about fading greatness, and fading youth – not necessarily his own youth – but something idealized.
Eliot’s second major theme is religion – the purifying fire of faith and unqualified belief. Eliot writes almost lustfully about the fire.
He’s indecisive, unsure of his footing – metaphor, perhaps, for the fading glory of the British Empire, too – but certainly a nostalgia for a moment that passed.

The shortest section of the poem, “Death by Water” describes a man, Phlebas the Phoenician, who has died, apparently by drowning. In death he has forgotten his worldly cares as the creatures of the sea have picked his body apart. The narrator asks his reader to consider Phlebas and recall his or her own mortality.


T.S. Eliot * The Wastelands * The Fire Sermon (III)

The chapter is simply about sexual intercourse. The title of this chapter, The Fire Sermon, is a sermon given by Buddha. In this sermon, he encourages people to stay away from earthly passion – free themselves from the fire of lust. This is a rather ironic reference that Eliot made because in this chapter, that is exactly opposite of what people do – they cannot resist lust or earthly passion. In the first stanza, Eliot gave description of the Wasteland, a place with brown land, wet bank, and no humanity. He did this by taking away symbolisms of water, which is hold as a valuable treasure to many religions and cultures. He also criticized the manner and behavior people treating each other: jealousy, anger and sexual desire.

8 gowtam buddha (


The Wasteland * T.S. Eliot – A Game of Chess (II)


This chapter title is taken from two plays by the early-17th playwright Thomas Middleton, in which the theme of one play is, a move in a game of chess denotes stages in seduction. This poem can be divided into three distinct parts; part 1 from line 77-110, part 2 from line 111-138, and part 3 from line 139 – 172. Each part has a different narrator accompanied with totally different settings, tones, and language usage. Interestingly, they all convey a very similar mood to the audiences. This is the most paradoxical poem in the whole chapter with two sets of opposing scenes.

The first opposing scene is the juxtaposition between the exquisite furnishings inside a beautiful-looking castle from the outside(part 1) compared to paranoid and devastated state inside of the London people after World War 1 (part 2). The second opposing scene juxtaposes two women, one of high-class and one of low-class. The first part of this chapter depicts a very high-class women (seemingly equal to Cleopatra) being placed on a “burnished throne” in a surreal, mystic chamber full of ivory and colored glass. On the other hand, this last part can be any typical low-class gossiper talking about her friend (who is also low-class and should get her teeth replaced) whose husband is coming home from the army.

All of these oxymoron appear as fix differences just in order to cover up the desolation everyone was in. Castle or just dirty London street, the woman in part 1 (which is alluded to many women with fail romance) is drowning and confused in her ocean of thoughts, the state of London is similar with zombified people who don’t have any particular purpose in life. Low-class or high-class, both women are suffering and crying alone helplessly while one hides her desperation in glorious furniture and the other conceals her sadness by speaking like nothing could ever put her down.


The Waste Land * T.S. Eliot * Burial of the Dead (I)


The poem begins by the reverie of the protagonist: people thought April is the sweet month of rebirth, but it’s actually not because it tortures the inhabitants of the waste land with unstoppable recollections, so it’s the cruelest. April stirs new life in the world of nature. This stirring of life and return of fertility is painful and repugnant to the dead because it reminds them of the need for renewing their own lives. This creates a disturbance of the dead. As for the people, those who do not wish a new life think April is the cruelest month because in another sense it suggests April brings changes or resurrections to those who do not wish for them.

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering          5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,   10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,   15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Poetry)

by T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

022LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
034And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress 105
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”
039And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.