Dear CR: Eliot seems to place great credence in Sosostris' prediction about death by water, to wit:
"I. The Burial of the Dead
Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor
...Fear death by water...."
In Part IV, the prediction has fulfilled itself:
"IV. Death by Water
Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passes the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool."
Something that has always perplexed me is the dual symbolism of water in the poem. Soon after the drowning of Phlebas the narrator years for water. Taken by itself, the latter passages are understandable as a yearning for more "juice" in a life that has become dry and sterile. However, seen against the dreadful prediction, it acquires dark overtones, as if the narrator were longing for death by water.
" If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water"
I would be most appreciative of any comments on the meaning of water in the poem. Diana
From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Rewrite The Waste Land - Part IV
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 10:27:12 -0700
I suppose Eliot wouldn't be carried away by mere predictions !CR
Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Nonetheless, Sosostris is right in at least one of her readings! Diana
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