The Waste Land by Eliot also emphasises the themes of dystopia and apocalypse. This is conveyed through the author’s powerful language which is rich in imagery. The poem describes a decayed world full of pain and agony but unlike”The Second Coming” the poem is two-fold. On one hand it represents the dystopic tones which are present in all three literary works, and on the other it promises hope and prosperity just like in Orwell’s futuristic vision. The Waste Land opens just as tragically and chaotically as “The Second Coming”.
It depicts pain and agony through powerful words such as “shouting” and “crying” and also by stating: “He who was living is now dead, We who were living are now dying”. The second stanza is a description of the Waste land, a barren, life-less land full of rocks and sand. This barren desert could be compared to the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a symbol of something that has been and it is also the end of something. It is also said that nothing sprouts in the desert and that is the case in Orwell’s narrative.
Since there is no”ownlife” and no privacy nothing is allowed to sprout since it is under constant supervision of The Party, thus ensuring their survival. Other signs of dystopia and apocalypse can be found in the fifth stanza of The Waste Land, “Hooded hordes swarming”. These are hordes of grasshoppers which eat and destroy everything. Further adding to the chaos and turmoil is the description of great cities falling and the reforms and changes which accompany them. These changes can be compared to a second coming, and thus Orwell’ novel. In his poem “The Waste Land,” T. S.
Eliot employs a water motif, which represents both death and rebirth. This ties in with the religious motif, as well as the individual themes of the sections and the them of the poem as a whole, that modern (1920s modern) man is in a waste land, and must be reborn. In the first section, “Burial of the Dead,” water (or the lack (thereof) has a primarily negative meaning. It is first mentioned in lines four and nine, in reference to April, which the narrator calls “The cruelest month. ” Later, the narrator describes an arid scene, in which the “Dry stone [gives] no sound of water” (24).
Next, the narrator describes “The hyacinth girl” (36) (who may or not be the narrator himself): “Your arms full, and your hair wet” (38). It is implied in this scene that the girl has either just been raped, or he had at least a negative sexual experience. Each of these references to water corresponds to the waste land; the usually pure symbolism of water is twisted to become negative, and in each scene there is some perversion such as rape. After the hyacinth scene comes “Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyant” (43) , who speaks of the Tarot cards and the “Drowned Phoenician sailor” (47) as well as “Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks” (49).
Sosostris advises the person she is reading, presumably the narrator, to “fear death by water” (55). However, the psychic’s words are deceptive. Although water implies death in both cases (Belladonna is a siren, a creature who calls men to their deaths by singing), which would seem to be negative, the theme of the section is that death must precede transformation and rebirth. Death in this case is tied to religion; in many religions, gods are burned or drowned in effigy so that they may be reborn, in accord with religious myth. Therefore from a religious standpoint, these references to water are actually positive.
In fact, this rebirth is referred to at the end of the section, only with the god being planted and then dug up instead of burning or drowning: “That corpse you planted last year in your garden,/Ha it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? ” (71-2) The death it his instance refers to the spiritual and cultural death of the people of Europe after World War I, and the rebirth is their anticipated reawakening. In the second section, “A Game of Chess,” water is referred to during dialogue between a husband and a wife. They are discussing what to do that day, or any day, and in their tone and words they exhibit their ennui.