What is the symbol of the Fisher King in Chapter 12 from The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway?What is its relation with The Wasteland by Eliot?
In ancient Celtic mythology, the Fisher King is a figure who is wounded in the legs or groin, and his resulting impotence directly affects the well-being of the land, which is essentially laid waste. In Chapter 12 of The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes, who has been rendered impotent by a war injury, spends a day fishing with his American friend, Bill Gorton. In the pristine environs of the countryside, Jake finds peace, in an experience that is almost sacramental. In communing with nature in its unspoiled state, he finds a welcoming refuge from the empty, purposeless lifestyle of expatriate life in Paris. The moral barrenness of post-World War I culture they exhibit is a wasteland, like that produced by the Fisher King. Jake himself is symbolic of that mythical character,having been wounded and left impotent by the war, and lost in an environment where everything, physical and moral, has been ruined.
The empty existence described by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises has much in common with the landscape created by T.S. Eliot, in his poetic work, The Wasteland. Eliot also was part of the "Lost Generation," and expresses the same disillusionment and emptiness, especially as it concerns relationships and sex, as does Hemingway. Eliot's wasteland is the same morally barren, hedonistic, and purposeless setting as that created by the Fisher King, and recreated in Hemingway's book.