As we have already discussed in class Fertilization is a key component of the “Wasteland, ” and according to the new book, it is also a key component in some Indian mythology along with its similarity to the Grail mythology. However, the “Wasteland” is completely contrary to the other text in how it relates to fertility. For the “Wasteland” it is about the lack thereof and the problems associated with a society that cannot reproduce. While for the other texts it is about the sanctity of fertilization and there is a happy ending of water flowing through the land.
From the very beginning of the “Wasteland,” there is an immediate reference to the importance of spring, fertility, and winter, death. Eliot says “Winter kept us warm, covering // Earth in forgetful know, feeding // a little life with dried tubers.” It is critical to note that in this passage it is the winter that brings “a little life” to, presumably, the soldiers below. Madam Sostris telling the reader to “Fear death by water.” This warning is already an incredible juxtaposition between the life that water brings and the death that it is threating now.
In “From Ritual to Romance” the author talks about some other scholars who claim that the purpose in Mysterium und Minus in Rig-Veda is to illustrate “the purpose of stimulating the processes of Nature.” It then goes on to tell the story of a kingdom that has fallen to drought and can only be saved by fertility, or the loss of the prince’s chastity. A princess comes in disguise to take him away. After some convincing the prince was whisked away and “the marriage is consummated the spell is broken, and rain falls in abundance.” This is stark contrast to Eliot’s world where the rain, although it brings life, brings pain.