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Preludes – Poetry Discussion

Autor:   •  September 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,518 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,281 Views

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Year 12 English

Preludes – Poetry Discussion

Good evening listeners. Welcome back to the Australian Education Network. You are just in time for our weekly segment, Penetrating Poetry. This is the show where we discuss and analyze great poetry from all eras. This week we are moving away from the Romantic period and into the modernist period. We will examine one of T.S Eliot's poems called ‘Preludes'- a thrilling and creative poem that explores the isolation of humanity in modern society.

Created in the early 20th century in a period dominated by individualism in a changing world, because of the influence of the First World War, the modernist period was an era of liberated and reflective poetry. Popular poets such as Eliot, Yeats, Frost and Cummings emerged with truthful, uninhibited and often brutal poetry such as "The Waste Land". Characterised by a desire to break with the past, these poets rejected literary traditions and pushed boundaries.

As you may know, Eliot was considered the "father of modernism" and led the way with accurate reflections of life during this period, with poems such as "The Waste Land" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Preludes, one of his earliest pieces expresses his disappointment of the modern world, highlighting how civilization has become isolated through the mundane routines of daily life in the early 20th century. He writes with experience and knowledge as the poem was composed over four years while Eliot was travelling through modern cities such as London and Paris, where he witnessed first hand the demise of modern society.

Preludes is divided into four small poems that link together with the progression of key ideas and the representation of a 24-hour period. Other key ideas expressed in ‘Preludes', include Isolation, Industrialization and spiritual bankruptcy. It is also important to recognize how the theme of fragmentation is evident throughout the structure of the entire poem by breaking the poem into four separates, breaking the time of day and also by the mention of separated body parts.

In prelude one Eliot explores the nature of this society and immediately establishes a heavy and dark tone. The first line begins with a personification of a "winter evening" evoking a feeling of depression, as the image of winter is associated with isolation, lack of growth and life. He symbolizes that the modern world is in a state of winter. He continues to build on this image by introducing the reader to a decayed world through clear and sharp imagery with words such as "burnt-out", "grimy", "broken" and "lonely". The effect of using this vivid imagery allows Eliot to set a scene of a worn out world suffering the effects of industrialization. He introduces another key idea with the use of "Six


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