A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Burial of the Dead’

A reading of the first part of The Waste Land

‘The Burial of the Dead’ is the first of five sections that make up The Waste Land (1922), T. S. Eliot’s landmark modernist poem. What follows is a short analysis of this opening section, with the most curious and interesting aspects of Eliot’s poem highlighted. You can read ‘The Burial of the Dead’ here. What we intend to do is provide a brief summary of what happens in ‘The Burial of the Dead’, but we’ll stop and analyse those features which are especially significant as we go, and point out the meaning of the most important allusions.

In summary, Eliot’s poem opens, famously, with a declaration that ‘April is the cruellest month’. This is because, we are told, flowers and plants grow – as you’d expect from springtime – but they grow ‘out of the dead land’. Few people…

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