T S Eliot

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Zhao 1
James Zhao
Mrs. Wallin
AP English
2/25/13
The Adoption of Modernism in T S Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Modernism first emerged in America as a brand new type of literature in the early years of twentieth century. After the First World War and the Great Depression, Western world was looking for a kind of life different from traditional one, easier, faster, more technological, and more convenient. Fortunately, modernist movement came into sight by then and answered all these requests (VanSpanckeren 61). Being specific on America by then, as Dr. Irving Howe, a well-known literary critic and an author suggests, modernism was a revolution went against the established traditions, public customs, and cultural orders (Barbour 28), fitting the tendency toward modern life then. One of the most outstanding American writers and poets, Thomas Stearns Eliot introduces his works with innovatory impact by utilizing seemingly illogical and abstract elements and techniques. In his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Eliot successfully brings in his formula of emotion expressing into multiple characteristics of modernism including dynamic style, subjective experience, and moral relativism (Barbour 28).

Modernism primarily started from Europe, since people began to strongly question both of the spiritual and material perspectives of Victorian Era, which previously consisted for the past a hundred years; however, a lot of American writers accepted this legacy from the other Zhao 2

side of Atlantic Ocean whereas they reformed it and created uniquely. As one of them, T S Eliot was originally affected by French symbolist poets, who supported literary experimentation from the aspect of life, from the nineteenth century, and yet he then ultimately rejected it (Barbour 14). According to the well-known opening of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’/ Let us go and make our visit” (Perrine and Reid 106), Eliot...
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