How Eliots Poetry Reflect the Man and the Age in Which It Was Written

Eliot is a poet of the 20th Century
How does his poetry reflect the man and the age in which it was writtenThe beginning of the 20th Century marked a time of change where there was a shift from rationalism to the acceptation of modernism. Influenced by the new knowledge particularly in the science department, such as Darwinism and the rapid development in advanced technology, the movement challenged religion and certainties were disturbed, resulting in industrialization and the move from rural to urban landscapes. Consequently, there was the occurrence of alienation, uncertainty and social and spiritual dislocation, which led to man being more introspective and solitude.The two poems I have studied by T.S. Eliot are Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night. They can both be interpreted as modernist writing as they both reject traditional forms of writing and explore the art of a rapidly transforming world of industrial development and urbanization. Within the two pieces, Eliot reflects the world he lived and wrote in with the utilization of various language techniques to reinforce his perception on the corruption of environment, alienation of individuals and their psyche.T.S Eliot??™s poem, ???Rhapsody on a Windy Night??? is set in the city and describes a lonely nightwalker on the streets of an urban landscape. He makes use of motifs on several occasions to emphasize the alienation and psyche of this strange man who is walking by himself in the early hours of the morning. The streetlamp mentioned several times throughout the poem can symbolize the only connection the character has with anything on the street. The light sourced from the lamp represents the only good in his world and the moments of potential hope that can only be found within its limits. This recurring symbol also focuses on the isolation of the individual in this space. The dark can be related to the mysterious, vague and the unknown. Where there is light, the association of clarity, security and the hope in the midst of darkness is made. These streetlamps punctuate his walk with life, demonstrating how the little hopes in the nightwalker??™s life are only momentary and goes away once he walks into the darkness, thereby giving the reader and insight into the nightwalker??™s state of mind. Likewise, the moon mentioned in the poem creates a world where man feels fear in the dark. It takes away the sense of mind into the surreal, where darkness is perceived as eerie, disturbing and ambiguous.In Preludes, the isolation and separation of the main character is also evident. Sensory imagery in the poem draws attention to the individual in a cityscape. The poem addresses the issue of segregation from the rest of the world through the eyes of an anonymous person observing the city life on a winter??™s evening. The diction of words such as ???masquerades??? implies the alienation of each citizen living in the suburban area. Similar to how masks are worn at masquerade balls to cover a person??™s face, the masks implied by Eliot hide one??™s individuality as well as the negative side of the human behaviour. This indication further mirrors the condition of city life in the age that Eliot lived in. The notion of a disguise creates an imaginary wall of distance between the people observed by the character in the poem, signifing the detachment of an individual from the city. On another note, ???One thinks of all the hands that are raising dingy shades??? emphasizes the perception that the individual has the need to close the blinds, therefore, shutting off from outside world. In the seclusion of one??™s own home, there is a more secure feeling and the mask can be taken off. The attempt for man to hide away one??™s true identity from others in this poem can be interpreted as a means of withdrawal into solitude, reinforcing the negative effects of urbanization.The concept of corruption of the environment due to industrialization and overcrowding of people in the city is also explored by Eliot. In Rhapsody, series of recondite and ambiguous images are applied to highlight the negative impacts of this movement to the environment. Such incongruent elements include ???cigarettes in corridors and cocktail smells in bars???, ???skeleton, stiff and white???, ???a broken spring in a factory yard??? and an old crab with barnacles on his back.??? Although they do not relate to each other directly, a sense of decay and depletion can be deducted, accentuating the detrimental impacts of urbanization of the early 20th century. Rather than using an extended metaphor, Eliot??™s utilization of these accumulations of fragmented scenes reflects his view on the state of the environment. Although the lack of development of the images means there is no full or complete view, the associative connections of the series of vague pictures reveal that he is conscious of the destruction of nature.Similarly, descriptions of the aggregate of surrounding things in the city used in Preludes by Eliot stimulate the same notion pointed out in Rhapsody ??“ the decay and neglect of the urban surroundings. ???The burnt-out ends of smoky days??? and ???faint stale smells of beer??? are examples of olfactory imagery that suggest the exploitation of the environment, turning it into its current soiled and muddy state. In stanza III, the juxtaposition of nature with urban decay further reiterates the cost of urbanization and modernism in general. ???And you heard the sparrows in the gutters??? places the representatives from two different elements together, creating an incongruous, yet real image that reflects the displacement of industries and the damages to nature.Many of the results of modernization of the early 20th Century is incorporated into these two poems by Eliot. Both Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night embrace the fragmented form of modern literature contain numerous images that appeal to the senses. In conclusion, Eliot??™s breakdown of convention and his use associative connections, symbolic expressions & suggestive images assist him in his purpose to convey the profound alienation of the modern man as well as the pollution of the environment.