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4 Pages • Essays / Projects • Year: Pre-2018
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? Eliot’s Preludes (1910), Rhapsody on a Windy Night (1915), and The Love Song of Arthur J. Prufrock (1920) are three poems that address the turmoil and confusion of modern existence. Eliot wrote during an age of anxiety and collapse of tradition. With scientific and technological developments came spiritual and moral uncertainty, creating breakdown and disorder. The First World War resulted in widespread turmoil, including the stock market crash and rise of radical political movements like communism and fascism. Amidst unprecedented immigration and global conflict, Eliot believed that poetry should engage and respond to this sense of confusion. Eliot’s recurring use of unflinching realism creates a cohesive text, and his observations on the modern condition in each poem achieve textual integrity and unity of meaning. At the core of his poetry is the human being who grapples with understanding his own modern existence, and it is his disturbingly precise portrait of this essential human struggle that resonates with the reader and achieves compelling meaning in his text. Eliot’s poetry, in my personal understanding, is a manifestation of uncertainty and its symptoms of contradiction, frustration and confusion. As these experiences universally herald the arrival of modernity, this interpretation of Eliot’s work is deeply aligned with my own. Eliot’s realism in Preludes, Rhapsody on a Windy Night, and The Love Song of Arthur J. Prufrock reveals the uncertainty and turmoil of modern existence, as the speaker experiences contradictory self-consciousness and egoism, a sense of stasis and frustration, and a distorted and confused reality.
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