How does Elliot capture the bleakness of life in modern times?
In your response, discuss two Elliot poems you have studied in class.
Poetry from the Modernist era is often regarded as a deep reflection of global events; one focal theme of Modernist poetry is the illustration of the bleakness of life and society following World War I. T.S. Elliot, a famous modernist writer, exploits this idea in most of his poems, including PRELUDES and RHAPSODY ON A WINDY NIGHT. These two poems both exhibit complex lexical choices to highlight ideas of bleakness and desolation and are examples of mainstream literature during the time it was written.
T.S. Elliot’s creation of bleakness is very much found in PRELUDES. The poem describes the daily movement of at least one unknown and the rest of the community as they follow through their daily routine. The poem is first introduced with a persona saying “The winter evening settles down With the smell of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock”. The poets use of alliteration with the ‘s’ creates an atmosphere of silence and loneliness, setting the droning tone for the poem Time phrases are used in the poem show that time is moving quickly without too many events occurring. He includes the line “At four and five and six o’clock” showing the time lapse, from night time to the next morning and then the evening. Bleakness is further intensifies this rapid time lapse with monotonous tone of the persona. Elliot also draws on routine and time where he writes “To early coffee-stands. With the other masquerades That time resumes,”. Another representation of bleakness is the removal of human presence in lines including “The morning comes to consciousness”. Personification does not directly state waking up, as if it is not a choice to wake. The imagery of hands if often used; In “One thinks of all the hands”, a hand represent one being however they are not counted by their character or personality, creating a lack of. It also demonstrates the insignificant existence of people. All these features combine to create a resonant feeling of bleakness common to Modernist writing.
Another of Elliot’s poems, RHAPSODY ON A WINDY NIGHT, also expresses the bleakness of the time, with an emphasis on the mundane routine. Much like PRELUDES, it also includes time phrases at the beginning of most stanzas ranging from “Twelve o’clock” to “Four o’clock”. Again it shows that time is lapsing quickly which not much