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1. Three paragraph response
2. Examples and citations form the poem (3 minimum)
3. Sophisticated language
The Fire Sermon - an in-depth look at modernist poetry
Humanity relies on its life lessons and morals to carry itself through time. Different ideals and points of view on human life mix and provide the diverse culture that humanity owns today, and humanity can thank its ancestors for creating the preaches, speeches, literature pieces, and even religious sermons that carry these morals and lessons throughout generations. Famous poets have created beautiful poems by quoting and alluding to beautiful pieces of literature that contain these teachings about life. In T.S. Elliot's "The Wasteland" (III. Section) The Fire Sermon, Elliot alludes to Buddha's Fire Sermon and his own ideals on human society to create a poetic masterpiece.
The title the Fire Sermon is an allusion to Buddha's Fire Sermon, in which Buddha asks his followers to give up earthly passions, which is symbolized by fire, and also to seek freedom form earthly objects. Throughout the poem multiple unfruitful sexual acts occur, and they contrast both the Sermon and the polluted Thames river described in the first paragraphs of the poem. They fit in with the idea of the Sermon, because Buddha is basically asking not only to give up earthly passions but with this sex as well, Elliot does not agree with this and thus puts small scenes in which fertility is impossible. The river is polluted because without fertility a renewal of land and family in Elliot's sense cannot happen so the beautiful river that is Thames, is reduced to a filthy polluted mess infested with rats. This is because rivers have a sense of renewal and when polluted it becomes dull and forgotten. To Elliot this polluted river is one of the true wastelands he describes. The first sexual unfertile encounter is with a man who represents a tarot card. His name is Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant. He asks the narrator of the poem to accompany him to a hotel known for homosexual secret encounters. The tarot card then pulls out currants, which are a type of dried fruits. These dried fruits describe how homosexuality is a way of ending fertility in which these represent. "Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants" (209 - 210) This and the other sexual acts are described in the line, "Unreal City" (207), while this can have many interpretations. It can be said that the line describes how, because all of these sexual acts block fertility it is impossible for the city to still be working as there will be no one to live in it. Moreover these acts are ending life which also contrasts to the line that could be stating that this city is unreal with the figurative people living inside it. such as Mr. Eugenides.
Another sexual encounter within the poem is that of the typist and her...