The continuing analysis by Interesting Literature of Eliot’s “The Wasteland”.
A reading of the fourth part of The Waste Land
‘Death by Water’ is by far the shortest of the five sections of T. S. Eliot’s 1922 poem The Waste Land. The section which precedes it, ‘The Fire Sermon’, is 234 lines – over half of the entire length of the poem. Why is ‘Death by Water’ so short? We’re going to attempt a brief summary of this section of the poem here, along with some words of analysis. You can read ‘Death by Water’ here.
Any analysis of ‘Death by Water’ must contend with the question: how come this fourth section is so much shorter than the other four which make up The Waste Land? Well, it wasn’t originally. In [The Facsimile of the Original Drafts] (a must-read for any serious student of Eliot’s poem), we discover a much longer draft involving a crew of men…
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