DEATH BY WATER

from T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land on Rap Genius

Meaning

This scene was originally a full canto equal in length to the other four. However, in discussions with Ezra Pound, Eliot was convinced to shorten it to its present form. (Source: Open Yale Courses. )

The scene depicts the drowning of a sailor, and operates as a metaphor for a symbolic death of the self (called upon by the Buddha in the Fire Sermon), so that divine inspiration can return in Canto V.

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