The Waste Land Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Waste Land.
This section contains 3,009 words
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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 prologue—which is optimistic about the month of April and the regenerative, life-giving season of spring—and 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...

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This section contains 3,009 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Waste Land Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Waste Land from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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