Death without Rebirth in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land
T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land is filled with a variety of images and themes. Two outstanding themes are desolation and death without rebirth. Eliot employs many different images related to these two important themes.
The most prominent image where desolation is concerned is a wasteland: a barren, rocky landscape lacking any life or water. The absence of water is mentioned over and over to suggest no life can ever exist in this desert, as water is a life-providing substance. Without it, death prevails. The dry, rocky land is desolate. Its waterless features are incapable of supporting life. the journey through this land is a harsh one: it is filled with images of other lives which are just as desolate and infertile as the land itself. One woman aborts an illegitimate child, another ignores her husbands presence in bed. Life is disregarded as worthless in both instances, as well as in the many other scenes the author describes. It is as though the women are infertile, desolate wastes, hopeless, waiting for an end.
Death without Rebirth involves Eliot's use of water in this poem. As desolation cannot be resolved without water, death without water, a necessity to life, offers no chance at rebirth. The lack of water in Eliot's rocky terrain contrasts to the presence of it elsewhere in the poem. The "hyacinth girl" returns from a lush garden with wet hair, and the author looked "into the heart of light, the silence" (Eliot 2467), suggesting a peaceful energy present in this scene. As a sailor drowned, "he passed the stages of his age and youth/ Entering the whirlpool"...