T. S Eliot's Poems 'Rhapsody On A Windy Night'

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Q. Explain how T.S Eliot’s poems “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” and “Preludes” express modernist concerns
Modernist concerns are expressed through T.S Eliot’s poems ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ and ‘Preludes’. Eliot uses his fragmented childhood experiences and his thoughts on the squalor modern life to express the issues of meaningless life, isolation, the alienation and loneliness that the humans feel and lastly the damaged psyche of humanity. The issues of meaningless life is expressed through complex imagery and other language techniques like symbolism with death frequently linked to show that life was not anticipated and death was welcomed to society. Eliot also explored the modernist concern of isolation through the lineation of time in
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Eliot explores the meaninglessness of life in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ using complex imagery like “The secret of its skeleton, Stiff and white” and double meaning in the last stanza “…sleep, prepare for life” to show life is meaningless by the reference to death and the display of being welcomed rather than being feared of. The use of the time lineation technique: “Twelve o’ clock/ half-past one” in the beginning of almost all the stanzas, displays how quickly time is passing without anything being completed nor achieved presenting to the readers the pointlessness and insignificance of our lives. It also symbolises the count-down to death once again showing the welcoming arms towards death and the meaninglessness of life. Similarly the concern of meaningless life and anticipation to the end of life is symbolised in ‘Preludes’ through the use of death motifs. Eliot’s use of metonymy in “You heard the sparrows in the gutters,” link us back to the modernist concern of meaningless life through death as sparrows were always associated with death therefore is an object correlative and a motif to death. Eliot incorporates death into his poems showing the modern life as being mundane and also devalues life but contradicts them with the little glimpse of hope in the line “then the lighting of the …show more content…
In the poem ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ Eliot displays the isolation and loneliness the persona feels through the objects in modern life like the street lamps: “The street- lamp sputtered” showing the use of personification to represent the persona showing that he is like a lamp incapable in talking with people. In stanza two the woman/prostitute is “hesitates(ing) towards you in the light of the door” but never actually moving being undertaken by the simile of the eye that “twists like a crooked pin” in the contemptuous regard of the persona and his attempt at interaction with ‘society’. However Eliot portrays the superficiality of the world through “She winks a feeble eye, she smiles into corners” as it is ironic how winking is a connotation of friendliness showing the wanting of closer relationship but the sentence following it after is symbolising the distance between the two people showing that it was forced onto them by the modern society. The fear of being rejected therefore causing the people to isolate and alienate themselves is also shown in ‘Preludes’. The emptiness of the persona is expressed through the use of “broken” and emphasised by the alliteration of b in “broken blinds and chimney-pots” allowing the reader to see that he is all broken and torn inside due to the lack of social interaction and the

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