Dear CR: It does seem that the poem is saying that a moderate amount of water is beneficial, but too much kills. Abundance as destructive. hmmmm. 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: Water in TWL
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 15:20:10 -0700
Diana,Your first point. Eliot has skilfully used the tarot cards fora) laying out the major symbols/themes that become subsequentlyoperational in the poem;b) to repudiate the secular aspect of contemporary civilization(represented here in the character of Madame Sosostris) whichis blind to the spiritual aspect of these symbols.You're right, Eliotplaces great value upon "death by water".Madame Sosostris has the power to predict it but she cannotdecipher its spiritual value -- hence her note of caution.Your second point. The dual aspect of "water" in Eliot'spoetry has always fascinated me -- as water of passion(s),or as a purifying/redeeming/transforming agent.In Part I, Isolde is lingering over theseas of passionand the sailor's song sounds a note of caution.In Part V, the seas of passion are "calm", if one's hand is"expert with sail and oar", i.e. if one has control over one'spassions.As a purifying agent, it is part of the washing ceremony atChapel Perilous. As a transmuter, "Those are pearls that werehis eyes. Look!" And as a redeemer in Part IV.In TWL, the yearning for water is both literal and figurative --(a) the need to quench one's physical thirst, as well as to dispel thedryness of the land, and (b) the need for emotional and spiritualsustenance.It would be interesting to watch this duality in Eliot's use ofthe "wind" too -- but for that one will have to look up some otherpoems too in addition to TWL.I must thank you, Diana, for raising this issue.Regards,CR
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