A bit about TS Eliot's The Waste Land, The Fisher King, Mr. King, MS, and the theme of redemption

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/09/02 13:50 +00:00, original URI: http://www.siao2.com/2015/09/02/8770668856267197169.aspx


Like yesterday's blog post titled The movie Excalibur was about so much more than a geek of a young man like myself could grok the fullness of today's blog post about Thomas Stearns Eliot (bka TS Eliot) and specifically what some people consider to be one of his greatest poems The Waste Land.

The resulting poem directly refers to both Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough and Jessie Weston's From Ritual to Romance in the footnotes (or to be more pedantically accurate, endnotes) as a good introductory guide to the redemption theories that allusions to the Fisher King and the Grail kinda try to represent.

The assignment came by my own choice in my American Literature class taught by J. Todd King, mainly to try to impress him but also to stop me from my own delusions of being a poet myself.

I was largely successful, getting an A- on the paper, but I later retyped it for my senior year British Literature class (where I got an A). I recall Friend'ing him on Facebook and guiltily admitting my crime.

His answer was basically that he wasi impressed that I took advantage of the loophole and we bonded a bit on our shared disease (multiple sclerosis). We each felt trapped in our own bodies, our own diseases.

The poem itself was very powerful for me personally, and I dug through the allusions and the symbolism to the point where I can reread it or have Audible reread it to me and remember many different years of my life when I was writing about it, rewriting about it, reading it, or rereading it for whatever reason and somehow feel a little bit redeemed.

Yet another shade of irony that I first went off on disability at the very end of the month of March, thinking just as the poem started, thinking that "April is the cruelest month..." realizing that I can still remember a lot more of it than I expected to.

And I'll close this blog post just as Eliot closed The Waste Land and say Shantith shantith shantith....


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