Everything you need to understand or teach The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.
I. Burial of the Dead
The first section, as the section title indicates, is about death. The section begins with the words "April is the cruellest month," which is perhaps one of the most remarked upon and most important references in the poem. Those familiar with Chaucer's poem The Canterbury Tales will recognize that Eliot is taking Chaucer's introductory line from the prologuewhich is optimistic about the month of April and the regenerative, life-giving season of springand turning it on its head. Just as Chaucer's line sets the tone for The Canterbury Tales, Eliot's dark words inform the reader that this is going to be a dark poem. Throughout the rest of the first section, as he will do with the other four sections, Eliot shifts among several disconnected thoughts, speeches, and images.
Collectively, the episodic scenes in lines 1 through 18 discuss the natural cycle of death, which is symbolized by the passing... View more of the The Waste Land Summary