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T.S Eliot’s Preludes and The Love Song of J.Alfred. Prufrock, are examples

T.S Eliot’s Preludes and The Love Song of J.Alfred. Prufrock, are examples

of modernist poetry which illustrate the concerns of modernist poets.

Explain how the poetry you have studied reflects some of the major

concerns of its context?

In your answer refer closely to two poems by T.S. Eliot.

T.S Eliot’s Preludes and The Love Song of J.Alfred. Prufrock, are

examples of modernist poetry which illustrate the concerns of

modernist poets. The modern era, which lasted between 1885 to 1940 was

concerned with challenging the traditional views of life. In terms of

literature, Eliot was a leading figure in challenging the style and

verse of traditional romantic poetry. Preludes portrays the hopeless

and monotonous life of the working class in an urbanised, dirty,

industrialised city. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock primarily

represents Eliot’s view on relationships, society and the human sub

conscience.

The modernist movement in poetry began in 1910, where significant

figures such as Ezra Pound and Jules Laforgue’s styles clashed with

the romantic styles. This greatly influenced Eliot’s style and

impacted his way of writing. Some main features used include imagism,

allusion and a free verse rhyme scheme. Imagism is mainly concerned

with the use of precise images to capture a moment, or feeling of a

character. In Preludes, Eliot creates an image of a yellow fog “that

rubs it’s back … licking it’s tongue into the corners of the evening…”

which could also be interpreted as an image of an “urban cat” at night

time lurking around the city. It is this image which conflicts with

the romanticist’s imagery of nature – it represents the ugliness of

urban fog.

Allusion is an indirect reference to another tex...

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subconscious. The opening sentence “Let us go then, you and I ” is an

example of Prufrock’s inner self speaking to his outer self. As the

poem flows, the attitude from “I will go” changes to a hesitant “I

might go”. This is a response to the idea of Prufrock approaching the

woman he loves to ask her for her hand in marriage.

Thus you can see how the Eliot reflects some of the major concerns of

the context – modernism. The modernist movement broke away from the

rules of romantic poetry in terms of structure. It also looked away

from the beauty of nature and focused upon the “ugliness of

urbanisation”, the power of the subconscious and the social issues

such as women and the working class society. Eliot’s poems Preludes

and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock are specimens of true

modernist poetry which reflect the major concerns of the modernist

time.
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