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Modernism In Elliot And The Dubliners

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Introduction: Modernism is a word that is generally used to understand "new and distinctive features in the subjects, forms, concepts and styles of literature and the other arts in the early decades of the present century, but especially after World War I." (Abrams 167) More often than not "Modernism" engages in "deliberate and radical break" (Abrams 167) with some of the more traditional foundation of art and culture.

Peter Childs in his book Modernism remarks "Modernism has... almost universally been considered a literature of not just change but crisis" (p. 14, Unit Reader p. 12). This essay will discuss and assess the value of this statement through the parts of the poem "The Waste Land" as well as "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" both of which were written by eminent poet T.S. Eliot and a short story from "Dubliners" named "Eveline" by James Joyece. Both the Poems and the short story in some way celebrate the practical and existent picture of life and culture and the changes with in them.

This essay will firstly discuss the poem "The Waste Land" secondly it will discuss "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" thirdly the short story "Eveline" from the "Dubliners" and lastly it will discuss the how the discussions have helped to extend the understanding of the concept of Modernism.

The Waste Land Section I: "The Burial of the Dead": This section of the "Waste Land" can be distinguished as a modified dramatic monolog. The four speakers in this part, who are very much frustrated by out side circumstances (a change and crisis) like war, are in dire need of speaking their hearts out but find themselves surrounded by dead people. The poem uses a partial rhyme scheme. The inclusion of language other than English makes it harder to understand the poem. Perhaps the readers are not meant to understand the non-English context but it is there to remind them of the sophisticated temperament of twentieth-century Europe. The "Waste Land" talks about the crisis equipped by modern culture especially after the First World War that had wreak havoc on Europe. The lines -

"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,

Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?"

Gives the vive that the twentieth century England had a culture that changed (decayed and withered) but will not expire, and people were forced to live with reminders of all its glory and reparation.

Eliot, in this poem, had used a rather difficult and confusing style which is there to provide the readers with more than just sheer frustration. He intended to draw a realistic portrait of life of the world of twentieth century which was very confusing but nonetheless moving and changing.

The Waste Land Section II: "A Game of Chess": The title of this section takes was taken from the two plays written by Thomas Middleton. This section focuses on showing the two opposite sides of the society, the higher class and the lower class. The form of the first part of this section is in unrhymed iambic pentameter lines, or blank verse. When going through the section farther, the lines become all the more irregular which gives out the impression of things falling apart which can be referred to as distress of in some cases, crisis.

The second scene of this section reduces the prospect that it is possible for sex to bring regeneration--either cultural or personal. The comparison between these two women was made to show that despite the social differences, nether women was successful to form their sexuality to stimulating.

The Waste Land Section III: "The Fire Sermon": The title of the longest section of The Waste Land was taken from a sermon by Buddha where he encourages his followers to give up earthly passion and seek freedom form all earthly things. Eliot, in this section of the poem has included various popular poetic forms some of which are musical. According to Eliot, the opening two stanzas were the ultimate "Waste Land," cold, barren and covered in garbage, even the river is referred to as "the dull canal" when usually rives are symbol of regeneration.

The sound of horns and motors in the distance are the representation of the more rational but crude existence of the modern world.

The Waste Land Section IV: "Death by Water": Death by Water is the shortest section of the poem in which, is the description of a man Phlebas the Phoenician who died by drowning. The only major point of the poem here is the triumph of death and decay over all.

The Waste Land Section V: "What the Thunder Said": This is the final section of The Waste Land and is very dramatic in its events as well as its imagery. The opening of the section begins with the crucifixion of Christ but he is not brought back to life in here, "He who was living is now dead,." Eliot drew a rather harsh imagery which perhaps suggests that the end is near and there will me no regeneration or survival. He talks about cities which are destroyed and rebuilt and destroyed again representing the repeated breakdown of different cultures.

"What is the city over the mountains

Cracks and reforms and bursts in violet air

Falling towers

Jerusalem Athens Alexandria"

All of the capitals have fallen with along their civilisation.

Through the imperative meditation of the Upanishad, Eliot takes the chance of finding out the prospective of the modern world.

DATTA - Give. The poet is found asking, "What have we given" and he finds that the only time people gives anything is through sexual act which is temporary and fragile not to mention destructive.

DAYADHVAM - co-operate, accept the others. Again the poet is disappointed. He finds every individual very much caught up in their own life and trying to find the key of their own prison, not caring about anything else except the "aethereal rumours" of others.

DAMYATA - control. This idea implies to over baring relationship.

"The Waste Land" is the story of a quest or journey



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