T.S. Eliot - the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Preludes - Modernism

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How has Eliot used both conventional and Modernist poetic techniques to represent his Modernist concerns?

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Preludes expresses Eliot’s Modernist concerns about the lack of morals and values in modern society through the use of personas within the urban landscape and the urban society. Modern man’s lifestyle of repetition of trivial tasks and the lack of meaningful things in life is represented and emphasised through the use of alliteration, metaphor, fragmentation and word choice.

The urban landscape is employed by Eliot in Preludes to demonstrate the isolated desertion of a modern city. The use of repetition in “the showers beat on broken blinds” emphasises the polluted, squalid environment and
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Eliot expresses his Modernist concern of the subtle, harmful nature of the urban landscape through repetition and the metaphor of “the yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes”. The fog is compared to a stray cat, crafting and cunning, attempting to get into the house, the intrusive nature of pollution is emphasised by this. Prufrock is overwhelmed by the urban environment and society and attempts to escape through his fantasy, “we have lingered in the chambers of the sea” but the modern landscape proves inescapable and Prufrock is swallowed by the demands and expectations of society, “till human voices wake us and we drown.”

The modern society is also used by Eliot to express his Modernist concerns of the lack of meaning and values in life, the superficiality of society and the lack of individuality of the people. In Preludes, fragmentation is used to demonstrate the broken views of the people of modern society who can no longer see themselves in a wholistic way. Fragmentation is shown through enjambment to create broken stanzas to disorientate readers, emphasising the confusions of society. Eliot intentionally refers to the people of the city only as “eyes” and “feet” and refers to the people collectively, “one thinks of all the hand that are raising dingy shades in a thousand furnished rooms” and the people with “all its muddy feet that press to early coffee
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