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The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

             "April is the cruellest month, breeding.
             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,.
             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 arch-duke's,.
             My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,.
             And I was frightened. He said, Marie,.
             Marie, hold on tight. And we went.
             In the mountains, there you feel free.
             I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
             What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow.
             Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,.
             You cannot say, or guess, for you know only.
             A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,.
             And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,.
             And the dry stone no sound of water. Only.
             There is shadow under this red rock,.
             (Come in under the shadow of this red rock),.
             And I will show you something different from either.
             Your shadow at morning stride behind you.
             Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;.
             I will show you fear in a handful of dust.".
             Discuss how this­­ passage presents the decline of humanity and spirituality, to an infertile and banal existence in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land.".
             Response .
             Immediately, the epigraph emulates Eliot's view of the withering world through his referral to the Satyricon; the Sibyl of Cumae was once a beautiful woman, who was granted near immortality but had forgotten to ask to retain her youth, and in turn she grew old and decayed with the ability only to 'wish to die'. This echoes Eliot's views of a barren and decaying society, with an inability to thrive towards its past magnificence, and sentenced to an ever dwindling vitality with only the 'wish [of death]' providing the possibility of a new beginning. As the poem begins, the reader is instantly immersed into an oxymoronic comment describing 'April [as] the cruellest month, breeding'.

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