Monday, February 21, 2011
I found our discussion today about mistletoe in connection to Eliot's character, Lil, quite interesting. As we discussed Lil's use of medication to trigger an abortion, we mentioned that mistletoe was once used for this purpose. I decided to do some research to determine why the plant has this effect. I discovered that the flower, fruit, leaf, and stem of mistletoe can sometimes be used as medication. However, if ingested by a pregnant woman, the plant can induce abortion as it causes uterine contractions. As we also brought up in class, mistletoe is the plant known as "The Golden Bough." Frazer wrote a study on mythology and religion with this title, which Eliot consistently alludes to in the poem. Do you all think Eliot intentionally alludes to "The Golden Bough" by including the story of Lil's abortion remedy in the poem?