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Rhapsody on a Windy Night

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Rhapsody on a Windy Night
Rhapsody on a Windy Night

This modernist text reflects the conflicted emotions and perspectives regarding the war and its aftermath. The odd an almost non-sensual literature presented by T.S. Elliot is enhances by the detailed imagery he embodies. Corresponding with the modernist literature movement, Elliot manifests Surrealist notions of an unconscious, abstract and dream-like atmosphere within his poetry, utilising the subconscious mind as a medium. As Rhapsody on a Windy Night depict mainly the themes of isolation, hopelessness and lack or loss of affection without society, as does Rene Magritte’s Les profondeurs du plaisir, which translates directly into The Depths of Pleasure.

The themes of isolation, hopelessness and insanity are heightened greatly through the use of imagery and allusions. As the opening of the poem originates at midnight ‘the gloomiest’ time of the night with the only source of light irradiating from the moon, the only things can be seen through the moonlight indicating the importance of the moon. In a traditional sense, the moon was seen to represent the womanly grace associated with physic, intuitive and mysteriousness yet also in a way presenting a dark nature welded in a realm between the conscious and the unconscious. The fragile wordings embody the compassionate feats of the feminine and motherly side of the moon as she tenderly ‘smooths the hair of the grass.’ However there is a radical change in tone as ‘A washed-out smallpox cracks her face.’ As this line is ambiguous as to whether the persona was referring to the moon or a woman’s facial features or perhaps both. However in the artwork, a depiction of a crescent moon illuminates to a different notion of the beginning of a renewal cyclic change.

The loss of affection throughout the poem is seen as a one of the most significant resulting in various forms of alienation. A prime example of such a theme can be seen through the image of the prostitute within the poetry.

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