How Does Context Shape Ideas and Language in a Text?

Topics: Romanticism, William Wordsworth, Poetry Pages: 2 (743 words) Published: September 6, 2012
The poems "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"(Prufrock) by T. S. Eliot (1920) and "Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth (1798) both present reflections of their context of which they were written in. This context expands between the personal, historical, social, cultural and workplace experiences that a composer participates in during or before their time and affects the way a text is composed. Through close analysis of these texts, we are able to determine the beliefs and ideas of the period they were written in. “Prufrock” concerns a man who can see the possible pleasures of life -love, joy and companionship - but is unable to act to allow himself these desires. Within this poem, Eliot presents a critique of modern society in which individuals are repressed, isolated and live a meaningless life, which made up the main ideas of the Modernist period. The concern presented through “Prufrock” is the restricting and crushing pressures to live up to the standard in society. The depiction of the fog presents the city as being smothering and claustrophobic as it “rubs it’s muzzle on the window panes”, which, being fragile glass can only hold out for so long against the oppression of the city. The animal imagery of the fog (“muzzle”, “back”) and its clouded swirling nature tells us that the society is ever changing and growing, reaching into “every corner of the evening” and influencing every part of Prufrock’s life. The images of restriction and entrapment are again described later in the poem when Prufrock addresses the power of a “formulated phrase” and how the simple, polite gesture has the ability to leave him “pinned and wriggling on the wall”. The insect metaphor describes Prufrock’s feeling of entrapment and his inability to escape social routines. He sees himself as being painfully pinned by conversation to be collected and constantly examined so that he has to present a proper face to others in his society. Prufrock’s inability to connect with others shows...
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