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Nature Imagery in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land: An Ecocritical Approach


Dr. Rajendra Kumar, Asst. Professor, Government PG College, Chunar, Mirzapur, U.P., India

The twentieth century is a modern era of drastic changes, a culmination of industrialization and commercialization leading to the birth of many sciences, neglecting spirituality and Faith and threatening and pushing humanity to the marginalized status. T.S. Eliot’s poetry bears a true reflection of the existential dilemma in which modern man has most paradoxically got trapped. It reveals the deterioration and decadence of human civilization; religion and spirituality that shaped the unstructured and brute primitive men appear frail today because we have learnt how to wear a fair mask and hide the dilapidated face behind it. The Waste Land (1922), no doubt a classic of the modern era, has garnered admiration and appreciation internationally for locating the cracks and fissures on the glossy surface of civilization and urban culture. Apart from criticizing the crude cityscape, growing materialism, and spiritual aridity, the poem is replete with natural imagery in all five parts supposedly hinting at the impending ecological crisis we are facing in the twenty-first century. The imagery like the river sweating oil and tar used in ‘The Waste Land’ suggests severe environmental crisis, pollution, and urban sprawl threatening the ecology of the earth. Beginning with spring and April and ending with water and thunder, The Waste Land uses natural imagery to portray the existential crisis and degeneration in the cityscape and can be interpreted from an eco-critical standpoint. Industrialization and materialism have not only brought disaster to human civilization but have also affected the ecosystem and climate. This paper aims to explore the natural imagery in ‘The Waste Land’, especially in Part 1 and Part 5, exposing the reality amidst the gloom and disaster and evaluating its relevance today from the eco-critical and environmental angle.

Keywords: Culture, Civilization, Commercialization, Ecocriticism, Ecology, Imagery


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How to Cite

MLA 9th Edition

Kumar, Rajendra. “Nature Imagery in T. S. Eliot’s the Waste Land: An Ecocritical Approach.” BL COLLEGE JOURNAL, vol. 5, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 74–84.


APA 7th Edition 

Kumar, R. (2023). Nature Imagery in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land: An Ecocritical Approach. BL COLLEGE JOURNAL5(2), 74–84.


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