Throughout the all the parts of the poem the dramatic tone obviously reflects all the worry and fear the people at this time have. Since the war ended, what is supposed to happen and how are we supposed to go on with life since all of this has happened.From the beginning with the quote from Satyricon of Petronius she says she was granted eternal life and not eternal youth and I feel like this is the same way with these young soldiers. They were granted more time on earth but their youth was basically taken away, they fought this war and now all they are left with is scars of what happened which can never be unseen. They are left to attempt to pick up their lives where they left off which is almost impossible because of this life they have became accustomed too. This is the same scenario with the people that were not fighting. Society is viewed in The Waste Land as this apocalyptic place where one must fend for themselves and continue and explore this land that is destroyed and covered in sorrow and waste of what used to be the war.
I found the dedication to Ezra Pound interesting, I feel like it shows this connection between Pound and Elliot as something more than a friendship. Even on this level of living and nonliving Elliot can feel this fear that probably Pound encountered more than Elliot because he was in the war. I feel like he is also talking to Pound examining what he has done and what he is left to live with without Pound by his side, which could be scary.
The overall feeling that we get of youth in The Waste Land is one of anxiety and worry. Throughout the poem, Eliot talks about the negative effects of the war and by extension, how that effects the youth. In the third section, there is a part about a typist and her lover. The young man “endeavours to engage her in caresses,” but the entire act is meaningless and empty (line 237). When they are finished, he leaves and she is glad to be done with it. I think this is showing how after the war, even an act that is supposed to be passionate has no meaning anymore. When the young men came back from war, many of them had shell shock and psychological trauma that changed them. Most people back then probably told them to get over it and get on with living, as mental illnesses were not really ‘dealt with’ then. So, young men coming back from the war had to try and transition back into civilian life without much help from the military that they had given so much to. I think this also seems much more empty because of its contrast to the short passage about the hyacinth girl in section one. Just the simple act of giving the girl flowers has so much meaning to the couple. The blue hyacinth itself means sincerity in love, which makes a mockery of the relationship that the typist has with her lover.
In T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the emotions and anxieties that are rattling about in the minds of the modern youths of England in the aftermath of World War I appear to find a strong ally or at least a not so great confidant. In this work, Eliot gives the reader an insight, a potentially very difficult to read insight, into how World War I has changed the world both physically and emotionally, by especially impacting those individuals that now have to grow up in this changed world, the Youth. In The Waste Land‘s first section, Eliot gives a peak at the inner turmoil that comes with living in cities that are filled with the ghosts of the war, and a season that brings back the memories of a time when those ghosts were friends and family. The youth must grow up in a time where the people around them see the new season’s as “mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain” bringing about thoughts of the great times that are forever lost to them (lines 2-4). Eliot seems to worry for the future of the world and the youths because those who experienced the war now come back to their homes to find themselves in an “Unreal City, [seeing] so many [they] had not thought death had undone so many”, so while the youth of England may just see a city that is their home, their elders see a city haunted by the sins of the past (lines 60-63). The youth of this time must wade through the sorrow and melancholy that presides in the hearts and minds of those who are raising them, and find the keys or answers to their future by themselves because as seen by the author’s conversation with Stetson, the dead give few answers.
In the last section of The Waste Land, Eliot gives the reader another entry into the world after World War I by describing a true waste land. Eliot’s description of the waste land as a “dead mountain mouth of carious teeth” and “rock and no water and sandy road” gives the impression of the desolate feeling the people may have after the war (lines 332, 339). The passages go into more description of the land and the strange “hooded hordes swarming” over the waste land, but eventually leads into passages about thunder and finally gives a conclusion that could give Eliot’s hope for the future of youth (line 369). In the final passage, Eliot shows a glimpse at a small hope for youth that hadn’t much been seen up to this point in the work because he talks about “these fragments I have shored against my ruins” and a simple question “shall I at least set my lands in order”, these lines giving the feeling that maybe the ruined pieces of the war can be placed back together, not quite in the same shape they were before but in a new shape, a shape that will create a new world for the youth of the future and that will hopefully heal the inner turmoil of that youth (lines 426, 431).
BLAST is youthful in its make up and set up alone. There is little to no care for efficiency or conservation of space. Words are written large and boldly across the pages. A single picture will take up an entire page simply for the purpose of understanding its true meaning. The words and messages seem to shout at you as you read them. There is nothing subtle or refined about this magazine. It is a teenager rebelliously blasting rock music throughout the house. It is unconventional and certainly rebellious.
My favorite part of the magazine is featured in The Manifesto. “Curse the flabby sky that can manufacture no snow, but can only drop the sea on us in a drizzle like a poem by Robert Bridges” it says. I love the whole curse and bless concept and the chaotic and unconventional layout of it make it that much more exciting to read. The Manifesto also gives the readers a strong sense of what the authors believed in. They bless England for its beauty but curse it for its snobbish ways. It is similar to the sublime we discussed in the romantic period, which also relates to youth.
I think there are many aspects of BLAST that show youthfulness. First off, it mentions that art will be about the individual, and once they declare themselves as an artist they “cease to belong to any million or time,” which I believe to be a very youthful concept because when one is young their primary focus is on themselves, as an individual. Plus, there is a dislike of focus on older topics, that dominated the victorians, like that of the wonders of machinery, so I believe the rejection of old traditions to be something that is again very youthful, like the teenager who rebels against their parents belief so to make themselves something different. Another youthful aspect, found in the Manifesto, is the rejection of England as some great, unconquerable empire. Instead there are many jabs at England, which I think shows that the end of the age of the 1800’s has fully ended and newer, more youthful ideas about England have taken over, devoid of any illusions on how great England and just Europe in general really is.
Youth is found in BLAST in its passion for art. The main concentration of the “Manifesto” is on art and how England is the prime area for an art explosion. BLAST does not seem to care about more serious matters such as an impending war but is focused on reviving the art culture of England. However, many war metaphors are used in BLAST perhaps showing how despite the seemingly unrelated content of BLAST, war has managed to permeate even the artistic culture of England. The focus on art in light of current events points to youthful authors and a youthful audience. BLAST seems to be waging a war of its own on the lack of artistic talent in England perhaps trying “fix” the British culture by inspiring the young artists of the day to pursue their dreams.
Blast takes the concepts and idealistic thoughts of youth and condenses them into a single publication. It seems as though if the magazine were a person, one could easily see him standing atop a police car at any given rally, swinging his shirt over his head and screaming obscenities. It is a pure expression of youthful angst. In the first article, “Long Live the Vortex,” the writer casts away care for “the sacripant Past” and “the sentimental Future” (9). The youths of the day cared neither for the past nor the future. They want nothing of the day’s philosophies or cultural norms, they “only want the world to live, and to feel it’s crude energy flowing through us” (9). Rebellious youths, especially those of the 20th century forged their own way with their own ideologies, the old guard had no say in their future. The magazine also criticizes many of the institutions of England such as the shipping trade, the navy and ports. Satirically, they write “Bless England!” and “bless all ports” to criticize the great national pride of England in the early 20th century- pride that led to decades of war (24, 25). Blast gave those who never lost their youthful, rebellious spirit a place to vent their frustrations with the status quot.