Disillusionment and Rebellion in Modernism

1502 Words Apr 21st, 2013 7 Pages
“The importance of Modernism was in its ability to unite the masses by illuminating common feelings of disillusionment and rebellion through artistic forms.” Argue with reference to two poems of T.S Eliot and one additional text of you choosing.

Rebellion and Disillusionment were fundamental feelings expressed by Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They came about as a result of a myriad of factors including; industrialisation, urbanisation, technological advances, militaristic tension and eventually World War I. The importance of the Modernist movement, which occurred at that time, was its successful unity of society through its illumination of the feelings of disillusionment and rebellion. This illumination and
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In The Waste Land, however, Eliot states that “April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land” an almost diametrically opposed claim to that of Chaucer. This act brazenly defies traditional romantic ideology, something that was happening frequently in Western society at the time of writing as a reaction of the horrors of World War I.

Additionally, Eliot uses flowers throughout the poem to convey the sense of disillusionment apparent in society at the time. Initially he refers to hyacinths and Lilacs, very beautiful plants, in a romantic way, stating that “you gave me hyacinths a year ago; They called me the hyacinth girl”. However later on the poem Eliot asks, “That corpse you planted last year in your garden, has it begun to sprout?” essentially stating that beautiful flowers are not beautiful at all, but the result of death, grown from corpses (of which the would have been many, post World War 1). This was a powerful reflection on the societies disillusionment and World War 1, seeing something romantically viewed as beautiful as a result of death.

The language and descriptions in The Waste Land further display the feelings of disillusionment widely felt by society post World War 1. Eliot ponders is there any life, “what branches grow” in this city, “out of this stony rubbish”. Through his
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