• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Burial of the Dead

Extracts from this document...


Poets are quite fond of using nature imagery to enhance different aspects of character, and this is no different in TS Eliot's "The Burial of the Dead". The poem deals with the people of the Wasteland, a place where nothing grows and spiritual decay is abundant all around. The people of the Wasteland let materialistic desires dominate their bodies, resulting in the loss of moral values, which Eliot explores in the first installment of the Wasteland. The passivity of the people residing in the Wasteland is shown through light imagery, which in turn brings out the decay present all around. There is a lot of usage of different aspects of the "sunlight" and "shadows", and little anecdotes provide a detailed account of the type of decay in the Wasteland. The first mention of light is in an indirect manner, juxtaposing April as "the cruelest month". April, a time where spring is at its peak and is blooming with light, nature, color and fertility is ironically portrayed as a cruel month, because of its ability to mix "memory with desire". The rejuvenation and new beginning in the season is paralleled to the change in the mental state of the people of the Wasteland. ...read more.


The sun and the rain are metaphors for the trigger to the mental state of a being, kind of like an alarm clock, but the constant dousing of the trigger through means of physical comfort brings out a conflict, between man and nature. At this point, it is evident that the people of the Wasteland are most comfortable with only two elements of nature, darkness and ice. The snow and the darkness is symbolic of the nature of the people in the Wasteland, as it is frigid and cold, which is parallel to the selfish and materialistic nature of them. Marie's "staying at the archduke's" is proof to this, as she is selfishly spending her time in vacation during the post-war era. The seasonal imagery used here, brings out the theme of materialism. Moral decay is illustrated in a more effective manner in the second stanza, with several mentions of the result of the sun's rays. The sun is a contrasting element in the "stony rubbish", but all traces of its radiance and hope is eliminated by the harsh word "beats". The sun's rays, although hardly felt, are ironically beating the people there. The sun's effect dries up water and life, producing "dead trees" and "dry stone". ...read more.


The word "striding" establishes an image of something taking long steps, and this illustrates death striding behind a person, showing how it is still far off. But in the evening the shadow is "rising to meet you", and evening is the metaphor for old age, where the path is now crowded with shadows of death, ready to take you away. This light imagery is used to accentuate the theme of ordeals, and shows the suffering of the people of the Wasteland. They are dead mentally, and show no effort to recover, although there is a constant provocation for them to wake up. ("spring rain", "sunshine", "sled") In a way, the people are making no effort to choose the path of light, but instead are like the old people facing death, almost as if they wished for it. Their passivity is the main reason for their mental decay, as well as their selfish natures. Through all this light imagery, the readers can focus on the death and decay that is so abundant, and there is a contrast in that statement too, because of the hopeful nature of light. The passivity of the Wasteland contributes to the deterioration of spiritual values, as there is no effort made to survive again. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. The manner in which Tarot cards play a role in the work of T.S. ...

    Also the fact that Madame Sosostris was famous as a clairvoyant, and considered wise indicates the popularity of tarot at the time. The Wasteland as a collection of modern poems enjoys great popularity. Before identifying similarities between both tarot cards and the works of Eliot, we need to understand what tarot cards are.

  2. Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai Detailed Study Notes

    These commas provide a quick rhythm, showing the nervousness of Uma and sounds like anxious, fast breathing. When Uma is on board of the train to her husband's m�nage, the commas in between the sentences signify the stopping for stations and also the start of another rapid chapter of Uma's life.

  1. Comparing and Contrasting Nadine Gordimer's Narrative Situations

    A final reason that may cause readers to think that this story is a bildungsroman is because Gordimer uses dissonant narration; the boy reflects on changes that have been taking place in his family since his 12th birthday. Ultimately, for a person to be able to sit down and reflect

  2. The decay of lying

    creates a separate world of meanings finding his truth into respect and improvement of its code.

  1. Articles of VN War

    ra, to�n theo d�i cung ph�t hien duoc mot s� c�c co so trong t� chuc tr� van thuoc t� chuc Hoc sinh Sinh vi�n Giai Ph�ng th�nh ph� Hu� cung c� li�n lac chat che v�i TCS nhu: Huynh Son Tr�, SV Y khoa.

  2. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel Chapter Analysis

    "Shaking, Rosalio and Guadalupe got out their pistols" shows that in fact the two men are more scared than Mama Elena. "Trying not to be intimidated by the fierce domineering look he got from her, he ordered the soldiers to inspect the ranch"; this quote shows that although Mama Elena

  1. Christmas - origins, traditions and ideas for making gifts.

    Reindeer are common to the arctic region so this is probably how Santa became friendly with the creatures. Christmas Eve Eve is defined as the evening or day preceding a holiday or event. It seems that Christmas Eve has become as big a day as Christmas itself in our modern celebrations.

  2. Sexual Relations: The Fertility of Treachery

    'A quarter of a century in marriage', ' a wife unparalleled '.6 Once Moudo and Ramatoulaye started living separately we see how difficult life gets for Ramatoulaye. Money becomes a problem, Raising twelve children became difficult, all in all, her life is totally shattered.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work