TS Elliot represents the views of many artists of the modernist movement who encapsulate the psychological and emotional distress of WW1 and the early events of the 20th Century in his poems. Modernists believe that every individual in an industrialised city is part of a superficial society that reduces the depth and value of human relationships. The alienation and loneliness as a consequence of this superficial society are strong themes that are part of many modernist works. This meaning is hidden behind layers of complicated and elitist imagery and symbolism which force the reader to search for meaning in the poem as the poets search for meaning in their modern lives. The dramatic interior monologue that is common in modernist literature is also shared by TS Eliot, who through his poems “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”,”Preludes” and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” , communicates a pessimistic view on the dehumanising urban environment, the decay of relationships as a result of superficiality and the monotony of modern life.
TS Eliot communicated his modernist negativity to urban, industrialised cities through his poems. “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock” and ”Preludes” are a few of his poems that strongly express his dislike to the squalor and lack of meaning in working class areas in modern cities. In “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”, TS Eliot uses enjambment and a stream of consciousness – “Of restless nights in one night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oyster shells” – to allow the reader to look into the mind of the persona and see the undiluted truth about the lack of hygiene in industrialised areas. The poem also uses symbolism and unpleasant imagery – “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window pane” – to appeal to the senses. The use of the colour yellow, which is often associated with filth and grime, conveys the repulsiveness that modernists see in the pollution of