Fire Sermon Anayalysis

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Timothée FERREOL
Marvin ELLIE
Bloc 6

16/04/13

EXPOSE LITTERATURE FIRE SERMON

In this paper I will just briefly describe Eliot's life, and the main sources of intertextuality of "The Fire Sermon", which is the third part of "The Waste Land". Then I will try to analyze "The Fire Sermon" focusing on the role of nature in the poem. "It is just a piece of rhythmical grumbling" (T.S Eliott)

T.S Elliot was born in 1888 in America  he was a famous wiriter, poet and critics.  He attended Harvard in 1906 but he soon moved to England in 1914. This text is a section of the Waste Land a book filled with poems of TS Elliot showing a very sad point of view about life in general. The title is taken from a Buddhist sermon where people are encouraged to free themselves from earthly and materialist passions .. This text is about denouncing loveless sex and lack of true emotions. The section opens in a desolated and barren place on the river Thames and put an ambiance of decaying and desolation which will last for the rest of the scene.. * First two stanzas depicts an infertile and barren world, with no signs of life except the rubbish that are flotting on the river. Theme of death and destruction are evocated. * The third stanza reminds us of section 2 with the rape of Philomel and the nightingale’s song. * The fourth stanza depicts an invitation to Eliot to a lunch at a hotel with another man. * The fifth and sixth stanza introduces the character Tiresias, a prophet, who is a male and a female character at the same time. He is the narrator and depicts us the meaningless of a relationship between a typist and a small house agent’s clerk. The sexual relationship is show as a loveless and automatic one. it is the reflect the state of our society for Eliott.

The poem of TS Elliot : The Fire Sermon is a poem based on various perspective : nature, human behaviour and city. Throughout the text, these perspectives are shown with diffferent angle, different narrator, different places. Thus we are going to answer the question :

“How does Eliott is depicting Human and nature ?”
How is this poem a complex and unstable mix of contradictions, intertextuality ?

I) The perversion, degradation of the world and the people.

2) Emptiness in  people’s relationship

Following this opening of the filthy river, the speaker turns into the character ot Tiresias (a male and female character). he is describing a sexual intercourse between a passive woman and a dull and slightly arrogant clerk. The woman let the clerk have sex with her even if she does not want it and the clerk leaves victorious and abruptly. Once again, Elliot is commentating on this new modern society full of immoral pursuits.

* Line 181 – “Departed, have left no addresses ” – There is no communication between people and this has led to a very empty and isolated left no addresses”, there is no way to bring back that life. * Nightingale’s song – “ruthely forced” This come from the previous song. This suggests that there is still no one listening and reacting against this violent act. It also shows the problem that cries for help are perhaps ignored or considered less important than other things. * The sexual relationship between the typist and the small house agent’s clerk – Their sexual relationship is automatic, like a military business “Endeavours to engage her” (line 237), “assaults at once” (line 239) and “encounter no defence” (240). The man also “requires no response” (line 241), he is purely interested in the sexual aspect of the relationship, he does not care about the typist’s feelings.From line 239 until line 256 there is a sudden striking regularity of the rhyme and meter. It is a nearly regular iambic pentameter. This also suggests that we deal with a routine action. Sex is not presented as life-creating but as a dull and automatic act.

* Line 301-302 – “I can connect nothing with nothing” – Eliott can’t make sense out of isolation,...
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