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August 19, 2019, 01:38:56 pm

Author Topic: T.S. Eliot paragraphs  (Read 246 times)

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T.S. Eliot paragraphs
« on: July 12, 2019, 12:29:41 pm »

I was wondering if someone was able to provide some feedback on my T.S. Eliot paragraphs? Thanks in advance  :)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Alienation/Isolation
T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is an ironic depiction of a man’s inability to take decisive action in a modern society that is void of meaningful human connection. Furthermore, through his poetic treatment of alienation and despair, he isolates the degeneration of the psychological identity and struggle of man in the early 20th century. The title of the poem itself is ironic, as it is composed as an expression of Eliot’s own anxieties, and expresses the social and sexual frustration of a man obsessed with his own inadequacy with Prufrock symbolising the “Man of early modernism… trapped inside [his] own excessive alertness… [seeing] the world and [himself] with unflattering exactness” (Roger Mitchell). The introduction of inclusive language in the first line; “Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky.”, and its repetition displays Eliot’s urge for the reader to understand the persona’s plight of the insignificant and temporary existence of the individual in society. These first two lines lyrically convey romantic connotations, however this is abruptly subverted in the third line; “Like a patient etherized upon a table”. In the simile, Prufrock evokes imagery of sickness, and may also be suggesting the sickened state of language in the early 1900’s, a time when the old romantic vocabulary of the Victorian Era was being used by politicians to justify ending young men’s lives in war. Furthermore, the image of the operating table may symbolically suggest Prufrock himself is sick, psychologically or spiritually paralyzed, perhaps socially “unconscious” or sexually impotent. Eliot’s inclusion of many paradoxical phrases such as; “certain half-deserted streets” further emphasises the disintegration of humanities concrete identity. The imagery of “Sawdust restaurants and oyster-shells”, two examples of things that once held life, a tree and an oyster, that have now become redundant and purposeless, an inevitable fate for all of humanity. Eliot’s personification of; “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes”, significantly contributes to the imagery of a smoggy, dirty city, enforcing the sordid feel of the poem. However, Eliot rather than outright condemning the pollution and disrepair, subtly and disturbingly portrays it in a seductive and aesthetic light. Furthermore, the fog may be symbolic of chlorine gas, which was introduced in WW1, around the same time that the poem was published. Then, contrasting with the paratactic and elegant description of the fog; “To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”, awkwardly reflects the social ineptitude of the persona while continuing the repetition of the previous lines to create odd rhythms, its thirteen syllables angular and its prosody disjointed, spurning mellifluous long vowel sounds. In a climactic moment, the persona, becoming aware of his insignificance asks if he should; “have the strength to forge the moment to its crisis”, and to face the reality of existence, accepting the meaningless of his short life. Prufrock finally emphasizes his insignificance; “I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me”. This may be a reference to the sirens in Homer’s Odyssey, whose voices were so irresistible to sailors that they caused them to drown, and the persona believes himself so undesirable that even the fictional sirens would not call to him. Furthermore, the fantastical mermaids may symbolically represent the elusiveness of women to Prufrock. In conclusion, ‘The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, poetically expresses the isolation and alienation of the persona in a degenerating society that is void of meaningful human connections.

Preludes Isolation/deterioration of society
‘Preludes’ (1910), explores the collapse and disintegration of society, illustrating a depressing image of the urban environment and how individuals are becoming increasingly isolated in the rapidly industrializing world. Furthermore, Eliot finds degeneration, decay, monotony in contemporary human life vividly portraying the metaphysical emptiness of men in modern metropolis. The opening lines paint a picture for the observer; “With smell of steaks in passageways, Six o’clock. The burnt out ends of smoky days.”. Here Eliot’s use of sensory imagery creates a dull, depressing atmosphere for the reader, whilst symbolising the polluted and mundane environment that individuals are forced to endure. The smoke itself may symbolically suggest the deterioration of society, as it becomes ‘burnt out’, just as a fire, which initially provides heat and light, will inevitably be reduced to ash and smoke. This powerful symbolism effectively communicates how the modern urban landscape is doomed for misery. Eliot further reinforces this image of the disintegrating society in the first stanza; “On broken blinds and chimney pots”, through his use of percussive consonants and plosive alliterative b’s. Such connotations assert Eliot’s view of the modernist world, and thus illustrate his views of the associated context, that being an industrialized society of 1911. The second stanza begins; “The morning comes to consciousness”, presenting the idea that people of the city merely repeat their actions each day, representing the loss of freedom and desire. Here, Eliot is playing upon the inevitability of the sun rising, the protagonist has no choice but to wake. Hypallage is used here, a transferred epithet, in order to describe how the morning is waking. This notion is then further emphasised in the lines; “With all it’s muddy feet that press, To early coffee stands. With the other masquerades”. The synecdoche of the “muddy feet”, dehumanizes the people, and their robotic, repetitive lifestyle in a way, revealing how society has become void of personality. Furthermore, the notable trope is that of individuals hiding behind masks, in order to conform to societal standards is introduced, displaying humanities loss of identity. The negative imagery is returned at the start of the third prelude which portrays the dark early hours of the morning. In this section of the poem the persona begins to use ‘you’ in an almost authoritative tone. “You” in such a context, depicts any one of the many ‘lifeless’ people living in this dystopian society. The “thousand sordid images” which “constitute” the watched person’s soul, are, presumably, the same types of images which have been previously related, images of grime and squalor. However, “The light crept up between the shutters”, symbolically represents how truth has crept through the dark monotony of life and “the sparrows in the gutters” are a symbol of hope in destitution. The persona realises that people go through their everyday routine without realising there’s hope for change. The people have become so entrenched in their everyday lives that they cannot step back and view their lives from the outside, as the persona does, truly displaying the disintegration of humanity. The final two lines form a concise conclusion; “The world’s revolve like ancient women. Gathering fuel in vacant lots”. Eliot’s depiction of “worlds”, as opposed to a singular world implies that humans lack cohesion and community, allowing separate spheres to exist in which people live, without connecting. The ancient women gathering fuel can be interpreted as symbolic of the endless generations that have laboured for survival, however, the “vacant lots”, suggests that the fuel doesn’t exist, and the work will yield no rewards. In ‘Preludes’ (1910), Eliot explicitly displays the deterioration of society in the rapid industrialisation leading up to WW1, through extensive use of imagery and symbolism.


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Re: T.S. Eliot paragraphs
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2019, 06:59:32 pm »
Superb analysis
Definitely a bit long
Obviously, you will interweave your response to the question on the day
Perhaps you could strengthen your "informed personal voice" by using further critics/scholars and rather than tack on the scholar integrate your response to this scholar, e.g. scholar A's depiction of the "decaying urban environment" aligns with your understanding of the modern world which Eliot responded to.