Login

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

June 14, 2024, 09:37:54 am

Author Topic: In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!  (Read 8734 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

issabella.giraldi

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Respect: +1
In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!
« on: April 02, 2019, 08:35:51 pm »
0
Hi everyone,
I have an exam in 2 days and I am in desperate need for some feedback on this essay on the works of T.S Eliot!!! I would also love some advice on how to condense it. It's at about 1400 words and I need it to be 1000  :-[  :'(
Essay question: Eliot’s poetry has been described as ‘a disturbing portrait of uncertainty amidst the turmoil of modern life’.
To what extent does this perspective align with your understanding of Eliot’s poetry?
In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO of the poems se for study.

My Response:

T.S Eliot's oeuvre entails an unsettling and often ominous portrayal of the turmoil inherent in modern life. Exploring an atmosphere of trepidation and futility, Eliot ponders the internal struggle of the modern man. The modern era saw an age of heightened anxiety and the collapse of traditionalism. With industrial advancements and technological developments came spiritual and moral uncertainty, creating breakdown and disorder within society. Eliot’s insightful poetry seeks to plunder and examine the reality of this widespread sense of despair, framing the turbulent nature of modernity. His poems ‘Preludes’ and ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ both depict the uncertainty concerning this fragmented society. Particularly, these works explore the disconnection and consequential insentience deeply manifested in the modern man, along with the widely conceived notions of predestinated doom and despair. Eliot’s portrayal does not only depict these concerns of despondency, but also the universal existentialism alluding to a slight, but seemingly possible, sense of hope.

Modernisation and urbanisation consequently fostered feelings of disenchantment, insentience and disconnection in many people as a result of the fragmentation of society. Eliot cleverly articulates an authentic reflection of life in this modern society, depicting the paradoxical despondency felt by the modern man, despite the supposed ‘progression’ of society. In his poem ‘Preludes’, Eliot paints an accumulation of sordid, fragmented images of the personas physical surroundings. He adopts a similar form in his poem ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ as audiences traverse the streets with the persona as he reminisces an array of similarly sordid images. In both of these poems, Eliot inturn symbolises the state of society and the internal state of individuals within this despondent modern world. Particularly in ‘Preludes’, Eliot depicts a woman who “waited… dozed… watched… the thousand sordid images of which [her] soul constituted… flicker[ing] against the ceiling”. Eliot’s purposeful word choice alludes to a dissociation between the women and her actions. He illustrates imagery of shadows which, in itself, has connotations of disassociation and also evokes a sense of detachment from the conscious-self. Shadows may also suggest a depraving, insidious tone. This depiction of the women represents the widespread disconnection felt within this fragmented society. Similarly, ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ explores this sense of disconnection felt by the modern man. In the fourth stanza, the persona articulates “the hand of a child, automatic, slipped out and pocketed a toy… I could see nothing behind that child’s eye.” Eliot illustrates a homeless child who, like the woman, has been desensitised to his surroundings as suggested by his lack of emotion in what is normally perceived as an act of youthful anticipation. As suggested by literary critique Carol L. Yang, “There is a child, the Romantic archetype of ideal inner humanity, to be reduced to and identified with the instinctive animal”, thus alluding to the moral deterioration of individuals within this modern era. In ‘The Use of Poetry’ Eliot states himself that “Our lives… are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves, and an evasion of the visible and sensible world”, furthermore expressing the modern man’s dissociation from, not only his own sentient being, but this despondent society he is in. Eliot illustrates this disturbing portrait of the dissociation of individuals to their emotional self, as a result of the societal turmoil in the modern era.

The absence of faith in modern life is crippling to the individual, consequently prompting them to view life through a futile and purposeless lense, and placing emphasis on a predestined doom. This was brought upon by the widespread uncertainty of spirituality and religion in a modern era rich with scientific discoveries and advancements. In ‘Preludes’ Eliot portrays this modern perspective in his last stanza: “Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh; The world revolves like an ancient women gathering fuel in vacant lots.” Eliot creates a contemptuous tone that is quite cynical, as reveals the fate of humanity; a futile, desolated fate of a monotonous cycle of life and death. He further alludes to these as he describes the endless gathering of fuel - a sisyphean task to no avail. In his poem ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’, Eliot emulates this dooming tone as he personifies the lamp in the first stanza “Every street lamp that I pass beats like a fatalistic drum”. The motif of the lamp has many connotations of exposure. In this sense, this exposure is interpreted as the revelation of metaphysical truth, whose unearthing is feared. This is reinforced by the simile of ‘fatalistic drum’, creating building suspense which unveils the impending and inevitable doom of the persona. This evokes a sense of futility as they move towards a fatalistic future which ultimately ends in a purposeless death. Through articulating the confusion regarding a dooming fate and the lack of purpose in modern life, Eliot provides insights into the repercussions of the degradation of faith in the modern world. These notions expressed in his poetry may have also been evident within himself, as literary critique Ackroyd says: “He was aware of what he called ‘the void’ in all human affairs - the disorder, meaninglessness, and futility which he found in his own experience”.

Although Eliot’s poetry, to an extent, paints a dark picture of the despondency and turmoil of the modern era, it is also arguable that he ponders the possibility of hope and wisdom within his poems. Despite his seemingly weary and disconsolate poetic tone, Eliot also explores the individual yearning for existentialism and transcendence. The voice of moral and spiritual degradation provides scope to the transcendental themes. This is evident in his poem ‘Preludes’, particularly in stanza IV where the persona says: “I am moved by these fancies that are curled around these images, and cling: The notion of some infinitely gentle...thing”. This sombre tone, brought about by an authorial interjection, alludes to the ‘clinging’ to a desperate hope for meaning beyond the modern mundanity of society. Eliot’s terminology of ‘infinitely’, having transcendental connotations, further suggests this yearning something more substantial. Although this existential tangent is short-lived, it provides audiences with a glimpse of hope for a purposeful life, hence enabling them to see the value of humanity, even amidst a cold, suffering society. Literary critique Prajna Pani articulates similar concepts in her ‘reflections on the existential philosophy in T.S Eliot’s poetry’ where she states:  “The wisdom and pre-existential anguish found in Eliot’s poetry could only have been achieved through much suffering.” In Eliot’s ‘Rhapsody of a Windy Night’ he explores similar notions as the poem begins with: “Twelve o’clock. Along the reaches of the street held in a lunar synthesis, whispering lunar incantations”. The time Eliot establishes often has many connotations to a ‘witching-hour’ and magic, establishing a sense of dark enchantment. Furthermore, Eliot personifies the moon as a source of wisdom, as suggested by ‘whispering’, encouraging the persona to presume his exploration of the night and, perhaps, to presume his personal existential reflection on both society and himself. Rather then introducing these concepts at the end, Eliot introduces them at the start as the audience journeys with the persona on his reminiscence during the late hours of the night. These late hours of the night are often associated with vulnerability and existential contemplation, which in turn, may be what the persona is ‘weighing up’ as he reflects on a series of vignettes. The poem ends with the persona returning to his tedious life, where these recollections will be forgotten. For the modern audience, this may have been perceived as encouragement to consider these concepts of a greater individual purpose; to consider the prospect of something beyond a life of banal routines. Eliot, in ‘The Use of Poetry’, says that poetry ‘may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being’, thus highlighting the brief but evident notions of hope and yearning for transcendental meaning in his poetry and their embedment in humanity; even in the modern era.

Both Eliot’s poems ‘Preludes’ and ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ address the turmoil and confusion of modern existence. Eliot sought to enlighten audiences of the widespread despondency felt by individuals, condemning them to a life lacking in both meaning and purpose. However, Eliot also introduced slight glimmers of the yearning for meaning throughout his poetry, as a means to provide a sense of hope in the desolate era of modernism.

jamonwindeyer

  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 10150
  • The lurker from the north.
  • Respect: +3108
Re: In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 08:49:36 pm »
+3
Hey Issabella! I know your exam is tomorrow so a few pointers that might help:

- First, your essay is great! Nice job!
- Read through your paragraphs and check that every QUOTE has a TECHNIQUE, and in the reverse, that you try and give a QUOTE (evidence) for every TECHNIQUE. They work in a pair, they should both be given (in the same sentence) wherever you can. If in a sentence you do one and not the other, look at that as a potential thing to drop to save words, because your analysis is strongest when both are present ;D
- You could shorten a couple of your longer quotes (use ellipsis if needed) to save some words too, you really only need the technique you are discussing!
- If you are struggling for word count even after that, you don't necessarily need your critics. I never used critics, lots of people don't and do just fine, you do an amazing job establishing your own perspective anyway!

This is a really impressive piece of work, you should feel confident for tomorrow! Good luck! ;D

issabella.giraldi

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Respect: +1
Re: In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 10:07:25 pm »
0
Thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I have written another response and idk if you will be able to answer by tonight... I'm just not sure which response is stronger  :-\

This is the NEW response (It's broader as there isn't a question):

T.S Eliot’s oeuvre depicts an unsettling portrayal of the modern world, exploring the consequential inner turmoil and struggle, both individually and societally felt. Catalysed by industrial advancements, modernism saw to the eradication of traditionalism, redefining the way Western civilisation viewed life. Industrialisation brought with it increased factory work and physical labor for the working class society. The nature of these jobs were profoundly repetitive and tedious. This in turn evoked a sense of despondency and additionally saw to the urbanised world placing greater emphasis on materialism and superficiality. Furthermore, the technological advancements within society elicited moral and spiritual uncertainty which ultimately amplified the despondent state of the modern man. Particularly, Eliot’s works ‘The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (Lovesong) and ‘The Hollow Men’ sought to expose the true drudgery and monotonous grind of modern life, exploring the consequential moral decay of the modern man and the renowned sense of inadequacy felt by society within the fragmented, modern world. Eliot’s commentary the modern world continues to be enlightening and perhaps even concerning in our contemporary society where human interaction is dissipating as a result of advanced technologies and smart phones; a society that is arguable more fragmented and materialistic than ever.

The modern, industrialised society consequently engendered a sense of moral depravity in many people as a result of the banal nature of modern life and the loss of spirituality. Through his characterisation of ‘Prufrock’ and the collective ‘Hollow men’, T.S Eliot seeks to illustrate a model of the modern man and the implications of a society modernised to the point where individuals have lost sight of their humanity. Eliot’s utilisation of dramatic monologue in ‘Lovesong’ allows the audience to journey with Prufrock in his own process of moral deterioration as indicated by the poem’s structure: The opening stanzas are quiet long and digress, whereas the ending stanzas are more vague and short thus representing Prufrock’s unwillingness to continue. Within the poem, in the 7th stanza, in an attempt to disguise the degradation of one’s humanity, Prufrock speaks of “Prepar[ing] a face to meet the faces that you meet”. Here, through the utilisation of a synecdoche, Eliot illustrates the dissociation of  Prufrock’s emotional-self from his physical self, thus highlighting the increased insentience within the modern man. He also provides social commentary on the shallowness of men as he necessitates the need for facades in order to shield others from their own internal moral emptiness which is ironically evident in all modern man, hence highlighting the futility of this action.

Similar notions of moral decay are explored in Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’, where Eliot depicts the inhumane lives of individuals, particularly following the spiritual emptiness and trauma that marked the social climate post WW1. Eliot’s intertextuality of Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ in the preface “Mistah Kurtz - he dead”, reinforces Conrad’s view of humanity as “hollow to the core” which is also seen in the title and is carried through throughout the Hollow men’s dramatic monologue. This is notably evident in the opening stanza in Eliot’s simile “Dried voices… are quiet and meaningless / as wind in dry grass” thus illustrating dry imagery which in turn alludes to the metaphorically morally parchedness of the men due to their ‘hollowness’ and lack of humanity. Prufrock, as discussed previously, exhibits a similar lacking of morality as he depends upon facades to disguise this, hence suggesting that Prufrock may in fact be one of the ‘hollow men’ Eliot speaks of in this later poem. The characters within his oeuvre, particularly ‘Prufrock’ and the ‘Hollow men’, can be perceived as not simply personas of the poems, but authentic representations of people during the early 20th century. Literary critique Roger Mitchell observes a similar idea as he comments on Prufrock being “the Representative Man of early Modernism”. Eliot’s modernist poetry provides authentic insights regarding an era of moral depravity as perceived through his characterisation. This is still acknowledged in today’s society as, perhaps, his models (Prufrock and the Hollow men) of the ‘modern man’ may be compared to individuals within our own society.

There was a profound sense of inferiority felt by individuals within the modern world as, due to the newly-found focus on industrialisation came a greater emphasis on materialism. Eliot provides commentary on the heightened sense of inadequacy and self-consciousness felt by modern men in this superficially-driven society. In the poem ‘Lovesong’, Prufrock is particularly enthralled with romanticism, yet afflicted by self-doubt. This is evident when he speaks of the women “com[ing] and go[ing] speaking of Michelangelo”. Eliot’s reference to Michelangelo suggests the intellectuality of the women and notably evokes images of his renowned ‘statue of David’ - an aesthetically pleasing specimen of masculinity. Thus, this highlights Prufrock's lack of, and evokes feelings of inferiority and intimidation. This is explored further in the 8th stanza as Prufrock speaks of being “formulated, sprawling on a pin..pinned and wriggling on a wall”. Eliot metaphorically illustrates Prufrock as an insect - helpless, paralysed and small - under the penetrating and scrutinizing gaze of a society whom judges simply the artificial aspects of people. This exemplifies the severity of Prufrock’s anxiety, emphasising the detrimental impacts of the idealistic expectations (such as the masculinity and intellect previously explored) in the modern society, leaving individuals with a sense of inadequacy.

‘The Hollow Men’ explores similar adversities of inferiority faced by modern individuals. However, rather than aspiring to be an image of masculinity, the hollow men aspire to be more moral virtuous. In the 2nd stanza, the hollow man describes “Eyes I dare not meet in dreams”. Here, Eliot utilises the synecdoche of eyes representing the souls of the righteous. Unlike Prufrock, the hollow men ‘dare meet’ the penetrating gaze of those superior to them, highlighting their cowardiceness. In fact, Eliot metaphorically refers to the hollow men adopting a facade, “Let me also wear / such deliberate disguises / rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves”, in order to escape the superficiality of society and the intimidating ‘eyes’ of those superior. In his exploration of the characters extreme sense of inferiority a materialised society, Eliot dramatises the implications of a modern world drained of any genuine meaning. This is additionally implied by the literary scholar IM Hammad in his article ‘Eliot’s religious odyssey’: “Eliot's poetry implies that modern civilization is nothing but soulless materialism which offers no anchor [and] no crutch.” The observations Eliot makes about this superficial society within the modern world is particularly significant in the 21st century, as platforms such as social media emphasis a greater focus on the materialistic elements of life engendering, similarly to Prufrock and the Hollow men, a sense of inadequacy in society.

Both Eliot’s poems ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ and ‘The Hollow Men’ address the turmoil and despondency of modern existence. Throughout the 20th century, industrialisation and modernisation resulted in the moral deterioration of society as a result of the monotonous routines and loss of faith. This also saw society providing a greater emphasis on the superficial and materialistic elements of life, thus evoking a sense of inadequacy within the modern man. Eliot paints a starkly realistic reflection of modern society in his modernistic vision of exposing the horrors of the modern era, ridiculing the supposed ‘progression of society’. The works of Eliot maintain enduring relevance today as feelings of inadequacy and the deterioration are a commonality to all members of the contemporary society; commonality that is becoming increasingly worrisome as our generation is becoming increasingly and perhaps negatively impacted by media overstimulation.

issabella.giraldi

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Respect: +1
Re: In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 10:25:25 pm »
0
Hey Issabella! I know your exam is tomorrow so a few pointers that might help:

- First, your essay is great! Nice job!
- Read through your paragraphs and check that every QUOTE has a TECHNIQUE, and in the reverse, that you try and give a QUOTE (evidence) for every TECHNIQUE. They work in a pair, they should both be given (in the same sentence) wherever you can. If in a sentence you do one and not the other, look at that as a potential thing to drop to save words, because your analysis is strongest when both are present ;D
- You could shorten a couple of your longer quotes (use ellipsis if needed) to save some words too, you really only need the technique you are discussing!
- If you are struggling for word count even after that, you don't necessarily need your critics. I never used critics, lots of people don't and do just fine, you do an amazing job establishing your own perspective anyway!

This is a really impressive piece of work, you should feel confident for tomorrow! Good luck! ;D

Sorry, I'm still getting the hang of this forum but thank you for your feedback  ;D and as you'll see (I posted previously without tagging) I was wondering if you could help me out with a new response.

jamonwindeyer

  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 10150
  • The lurker from the north.
  • Respect: +3108
Re: In desperate need for some feedback on my T.S Eliot essay!!
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2019, 10:57:39 pm »
+3
Sorry, I'm still getting the hang of this forum but thank you for your feedback  ;D and as you'll see (I posted previously without tagging) I was wondering if you could help me out with a new response.

You're welcome! ;D I took a quick read of your second response (in the interests of replying quickly!) and I think the first one is a tad stronger, but this makes sense because it is question tailored. A response is always strongest when it is targeted. The second response is still really strong, and I also think it does a better job with that QUOTE <-> TECHNIQUE duality I spoke about earlier ;D good luck!