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Essay on A Handful of Optimism

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A Handful of Optimism

Despite race, religion, sex, or age the world can be divided into two different groups. Those who see the glass as being half full and those who see the glass as being half empty. In other words, being either that of an optimist or a pessimist. Though a simple question, often times people find it difficult to answer. Just when one thinks they have decided that they are one or the other, they come across a song, poem, or an experience that makes them reevaluate the mind frame from that which they have normally embraced. T. S. Eliot’s famous quote from The Waste Land, "I can show you fear in a handful of dust," is one that has been the trigger, for many, in this self-evaluation process (1.30)

Quite often,
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For many Christians it is a verse found in the Bible that changed their fear of death to one of an acceptance of death. "For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not parish perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. The belief of having eternal life is what keeps the fear of death at bay. Not only do Christians beliefs promote optimism, but they encourage others to seek a similar level of self realization.

Nevertheless, some people are unaware and apathetic to the endless possibilities that life holds. It is a woman in Eliot’s poem that conveys the image of a person who is living, yet fails to see the richness in her life. It is after the departure of her lover that she states, "‘Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over’" (3.252). Most would be overcome with joy and contentment at having just completed, what is thought to be, one of the most intimate and cherished part of ones life. Not only does she respond to this occasion with rigidness, in her previous comment, but Eliot proceeds to say that "She smoothes her hair with an automatic hand" (3.255). Thus implicating the meaninglessness and emptiness of her life. Not only does Eliot portray the pessimism with this woman but does so in a broader sense when he writes:

"Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken

images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the
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