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. The woman allows the clerk to have his way with her, and he leaves victorious. A brief interlude begins the river-song in earnest. These are among the few moments of tranquility in the poem, and they seem to represent some sort of simpler alternative. This section of The Waste Land is notable for its inclusion of popular poetic forms, particularly musical ones. But Eliot also uses these bits and pieces to create high art, and some of the fragments he uses the lines from Spenser in particular are themselves taken from more exalted forms. Again this provides an ironic contrast to the debased goings-on but also provides another form of connection and commentary.
The Waste Land Section III: “The Fire Sermon”
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.
Dhivan Thomas Jones
On the show, professor of Asian cultures D. Max Moerman explicates it this way:. Everything about us is out of control.
In this section, T. Eliot preaches through a Buddhist sermon where people are encouraged to be free from earthly passions and things. The section makes various references to loveless sex and improper sexual relationships and shows an emotional wasteland. The section opens with a desolate and barren scene at the river Thames and sets a tone of decaying and desolation for the rest of the section. Themes, motifs and connotations:. Empty and meaningless relationships. Lack of communication. The pursuit of materialistic and earthly things at the expense of human emotions.