Preludes - TS Eliot Essay

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Preludes - TS Eliot
Relevant Background
• Thomas Stearns [TS] Eliot was born in into a wealthy family in St Louis, Missouri, America in 1888
• He became a British citizen at the age of 39 in 1927.
• His father was president of a brick making company. His mother wrote poetry and was once a teacher and social volunteer. They were determined to educate Thomas well.
• TS Eliot's awareness of how differently some people lived inspired a lot of the descriptions found in ‘Preludes'.
• Through the work of his mother and grandfather TS Eliot became aware of poverty and the boring reality of peoples' lives.
• In 1917 he published ‘Preludes'. ‘Preludes' consists of four short poems, numbered I, II, III and IV.
• Some say that in
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Or it may be the cab driver. Perhaps Eliot is observing a street prostitute, the ‘you' of the poem, as she stands on the pavement among the withered leaves.
• It might be helpful to regard this poem, like the others, as a video post-card of this moment, six o'clock on the winter's evening. Eliot used words as his way of painting the picture.
• The time is pinpointed at 6 o'clock precisely.
• Residents, living probably in one-roomed apartments, are cooking their evening meal all at the same time. They are probably all workers living in flats. The word ‘passageways' suggests the houses have been turned into flats for rent. Even though it seems a run-down part of town, the residents can afford steak.
• By linking the scene here with the ‘stale smells of beer' and ‘dingy shades' in furnished rooms of ‘Prelude II' and the ‘thousand sordid images' of ‘Prelude III', one could assume that the Preludes are set in a red-light district of a city.
• The smell of steak is a signal that day is done and night is beginning. Because of city smoke the day is described as smoky. Maybe the smoke occurs because people are cooking at the same time. The tiredness of the workers is suggested by the word ‘burnt-out'. Or is there a humorous suggestion that they over cook the steaks?
• The weather is bad; a windy shower beats on the buildings and on the horse outside. The cold rain evaporates as steam off the horse's back.
• It is early winter as the