The title of this, the longest section of The Waste Land, is taken from a sermon given by Buddha in which he encourages his followers to give up earthly passion symbolized by fire and seek freedom from earthly things. A turn away from the earthly does indeed take place in this section, as a series of increasingly debased sexual encounters concludes with a river-song and a religious incantation. The speaker is then propositioned by Mr. Eugenides invites the speaker to go with him to a hotel known as a meeting place for homosexual trysts.
Part III: The Fire Sermon
Home Essential Questions Biography of T. S Eliot Bibliography. The Burial of the Dead II. The Fire Sermon IV. Death by Water V. What the Thunder Said. Text III.
Dhivan Thomas Jones
On the show, professor of Asian cultures D. Max Moerman explicates it this way:. Everything about us is out of control.
Eliot opens this section with the image of a river, wind crossing silently overhead. In other words, the Thames has become a kind of stagnant slate, devoid of detritus but also of life. His tears are a reference to Psalm , in which the people of Israel, exiled to Babylon, cry by the river as they remember Jerusalem. Suddenly the death-life of the modern world rears its head. According to this study, of critical importance to the entirety of "The Waste Land," the Fisher King -— so named probably because of the importance of fish as Christian fertility symbols -— grows ill or impotent. As a result, his land begins to wither away; something akin to a drought hits, and what was once a fruitful kingdom is reduced to a wasteland. Only the Holy Grail can reverse the spell and save the king and his land.