Essay on The Legacy Of The Great War

1007 Words Apr 21st, 2016 5 Pages
The Great War was undoubtedly one of the most impactful events in the twentieth century. It was a war that forever affected the course of history. In itself, history is composed of developments or regressions in societies and cultures, which are in turn built up of aspects such as literature. The literature of a society strongly conveys its important themes. Consequently, in the aftermath of the Great War, it is clear that this conflict affected British society significantly in several ways, as evidenced in the time period’s poetry and the lives of the poets. In T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, a poem on Europe after the Great War, there are themes present of a general discontentment in and decline of British society due to the events of the Great War. Understandably, many survivors of the war came back traumatized and disillusioned by the conflict. All these men, part of what is called the Lost Generation, returned to British society having witnessed horrors and depravity that deeply affected their perspectives on life. It was difficult for many and impossible for those who suffered from conditions such as severe shell shock, to return to normal civilian life. It appears, especially in Eliot’s The Wasteland, that the combat memories are haunting as Eliot writes, “I think we are in rat’s alley / Where the dead men lost their bones” (115-116). This short stanza within the poem is reminiscent of how horrific trench warfare in World War I was, with rats and corpses…

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