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September 28, 2023, 04:54:51 pm

Author Topic: MOD B-T.S Eliot Essay  (Read 1445 times)

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MOD B-T.S Eliot Essay
« on: June 01, 2019, 08:14:34 pm »
This is my essay for Module B. I'm not too happy with its form yet, it seems a bit clunky still. Any feedback would be much appreciated.
The last paragraph is not very developed yet- can someone please tell me whether integrating the concept of textual integrity into Mod B responses is essential? Thankyou  :D

'T. S Eliot's poetry is characterised by its exploration of alienation and despair, exposing a disturbing picture of the human experience'

To what extent does this perspective align with you understanding of Eliot's poetry?

The swift industrialisation of the 20th century provoked a sense of disillusionment amongst society. Such is exemplified in the works of T. S Eliot whose poetry portrays the disorder and insecurity inherent in modern life. Eliot encapsulates the the innate despair and alienation undermining the modern human experience. Eliot’s works provide a  disturbing picture of the human condition.

In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Eliot creates a deranging portrayal of his sense of social alienation and despair. Written in 1910, Love Song narrates the reflections of persona Prufrock on his increasingly materialistic surroundings. Through the self conscious inner dialogue of ‘Prufrock’ Eliot expresses his personal despair in failure to seek fulfillment. Throughout the piece Eliot perceives infinite time as threatening, his apprehensive inner thoughts hindering his productivity. Prufrock’s procrastinations are evident in ‘in a minute there will be time which a minute will reverse’, and repetitions of ‘there will be time..’ throughout the piece. Despite Eliot’s apparent abundance of time, he remains incapable of experiencing of a sense of achievement in ‘asking the overwhelming question’ due to his idleness. This can be seen in- ‘in a minute there will be time which a minute will reverse’. Eliot’s sense of alienation is expressed through the fragmentary imagery throughout the piece. Eliot’s voicing is a constant stream of consciousness reflecting on both past events and current observations. Unger compares this to a series of slides; ‘each slides creating its own fragmentary image’. Through the accumulation of these slides, the reader gains insight into the deeper meaning behind the poem. Through the sense of despair developed by fragmentary, disconnected imagery and the sense of alienation created using Eliot’s poetic structure, the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock displayed a despondent depiction of the human experience.

Composed in 1925, the Hollow Men explores alienation and despair through its reflections on the post -war deterioration of social-values and rise in consumerism. Eliot’s sense of social disillusionment and alienation is proliferated through the poems otherworldly setting. The setting of the piece is devoid of life and spiritual connections, seen in the paradox ‘we are the stuffed men, we are the hollow men’. He creates juxtaposition of ‘hollow, and ‘stuffed’ a metaphor of being stuffed with nothing meaningful, only vanity. Eliot emphasises his despair through his use of verbal austerity and binary opposites. The binary opposites, “murder” and “create”, reflect the rapid industrial and technological change which decentralised the Victorian-Romantic identity, resulting in the loss of agency and purpose. Eliot also communicates his despair and loss of purpose in ‘The Hollow Men’, in which individuals, once driven by aspirations become “dead” and “hollow” as scarecrows, empty of motivation. The motif of a scarecrow, captured through the synecdoche of its parts, “Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves,” symbolises individuals created from exterior components. They are empty of purpose inside, without a sense of drive and momentum. Through his explorations of alienation and despair Eliot paints a malcontent image of the human condition.

Eliot explores alienation and despair in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ through the concept of superficiality. Through reflecting on a series of memories conjured up by an evening walk, Eliot expresses his inner isolation. In the memory of ‘an old crab’ Crabs can only scuttle sideways and not forward, Eliot utilises the crab as a symbol of society's inability to progress forward. In Eliot’s mind the new industrialised world is in decline. Eliot comments on the sense of alienation he perceives in the modern world through his reminiscences on past experiences. This can be seen in his use of sensory language; ‘The chestnut smells that filled the streets… the cigarette smells… female smells… cocktail smells’. This re-emphasises Eliot’s inability to feel connected amongst his rapidly changing society. Through the use of symbolism and sensory language, Eliot expresses his despair and sense of disillusionment and alienation from society.

Through unity of form, language, and meaning, Eliot provides a disturbing picture of the human experience.The modernist concepts of alienation and despair utilised by Eliot portray a dismal portrait of modern life. The textual integrity of Eliot’s works are evident in the continued relevance they hold in today’s society.