(a) Prelude speaks of spiritually exhausted people who exist in the impersonal, tawdry modern city

Authors Avatar

Prompt:  Explore the following statements about TS Eliot’s poetry through a close reading of the text:

“Prelude” speaks of spiritually exhausted people who exist in the impersonal, tawdry modern city*

          This essay is mainly about the preludes by T.S. Eliot, which speaks about the spiritually exhausted people who exist in the impersonal, tawdry modern city. Starting with information about T.S. Eliot, followed by a definition of modernism. Then exploration of the prelude is through close reading's skills, in three different stages; first; annotating the text, the second stage; understanding the text, the third stage, include the theme of the poem by discussing and analyzing the poem, including some outside information about historical and biographical facts.

          “T. S. Eliot was born in St. Louis and most of his adult life was in London. He is a modernist poet as many of his contemporaries; in as young he suffered a religious crisis and a nervous breakdown before regaining his emotional equilibrium and Christian faith. One of his most significant works is the preludes, which deal with spiritually exhausted people who exist in the impersonal, tawdry modern city.”

“Characteristics of Modernism, Open Form, , Discontinuous narrative, , Classical allusions, Borrowings from other cultures and languages, Unconventional use of metaphor, Fragmentation, Multiple narrative points of view”

“’Preludes’ is a poem by T. S. Eliot, composed in the early stages of his career. It is in turns literal and impressionistic, exploring the sordid and solitary existences of the spiritually moiled as they play out against the backdrop of the drab modern city. In essence, it is four poems rather than one, and it is duly labeled as such. Composed over the course of four years in France and the United States, it comes to just 54 lines. Its four parts are uneven, irregular and written in free verse symptomatic of the speaker's stream of consciousness. Part I is comprised of twelve lines, part II of ten, part III of fifteen each and part IV”

The preludes are four sections or prelude, each draws different portrait. The first prelude sets the mood of the reader, which is pensive. From the very first line, Eliot manages to set the preludes as modernist poetry, the way he portrait the scene using ‘winter’ as a symbol of coldness and lifelessness, then using ‘evening’ as a symbol of darkness, and using ‘settles down’ this way from now on. It seems to be unidentified observer. Several aspects of nature involved; the most significant is the rain, which is usually a symbol of growing but ironically to show dullness and dreariness aspects of mundane living. As Eliot used it ‘gusty shower’ showing no good, if the rain drops on lifeless city, so, there would be no growing or rebirth.

Join now!

The Prelude I has no sign of life except for the ‘lonely cab-horse’ who ‘steams and stamps’, pointlessly and impatiently waiting for nothing important. In the last line of the first prelude ‘the lighting of the lamps’ light is usually a symbol of hope but in contrary, the light shows the despair and misery of the street, as it would be clear in the following preludes.

Prelude II starts with the arrival of the morning, “With two five line stanzas and a more regular rhythm and rhyme scheme, the reader may think that there is the arrival of hope, ...

This is a preview of the whole essay