Last week, Madame Sosostris left our narrator with quite the warning: fear death by water. At this point in the poem, the narrator seems to change. One of the strong suits of The Waste Land is that it references many other important writings of past centuries. In this case, we are going right into Dante’s Inferno.
In Dante’s Inferno, Hell is made a series of concentric rings with the most vile at the very center. That circle is reserved for traitors. I feel that is quite fitting, don’t you?
Here they are, walking round and round and round. These Austrian children were photographed just before the Second World War erupted. I wonder how many survived? War is also a central theme to the poem, a theme we will explore soon.
The middle circle is a roller coaster ride photographed when it was closed. Is there anything more intriguing than a closed theme park? All those lively, carnival-esque rides sitting quiet and ominous? Sharp edges and grinding metals. Like a sleeping monster. Like a treacherous adult.
These children did not know what was coming. But really, how many of us do?