Discuss Eliot’s treatment of the theme of the modern city in

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Discuss Eliot’s treatment of the theme of the modern city in Preludes. Also refer to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock if you wish. In both ‘Preludes’ and ‘The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, the modern city is one of the main themes. Eliot’s fascination with the modern city could stem from the fact that he was an American, and so when he moved to England in 1915, the modern city was a part of England of which he was in awe. Eliot was also influenced by the French poet, Charles Baudelaire who explored the poetic possibilities of “the more sordid aspects of the modern metropolis.” I believe that this is what Eliot is doing in Preludes; I believe he is exploring the poetic possibilities of the city. In ‘Preludes’, Eliot…show more content…
This is a typically English routine, where the “muddy feet that press” is a pressing image. By using “sawdust-trampled feet” suggests cleaning as sawdust is often used to soak up mess, and this mess in Eliot’s writing could be the city’s sordid aspects. Sordid aspects of city life are presented to us in the third stanza. The stanza sticks out from the rest of the poem because it is so different and shocking. This may have been Eliot’s intent; to shock people and to enlighten them with images of what happens in cities when people have gone home for the night. Eliot starts the stanza with “You tossed a blanket from the bed / You lay upon your back, and waited.” These two lines are of a sexual nature and we almost get the impression that Eliot is talking about a prostitute. We must also notice that this stanza is also written in the second person, which is more personal than the other stanzas. In the next few lines it seems as if the narrator feels pity for the woman as she has sold her soul and can see exactly what she has done when she sees the flickering images. “The thousand sordid images / Of which your soul was constituted; / They flickered against the ceiling.” These few lines could stem from the beliefs of Henri Bergson, a French

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