Eliot’s poetry challenges the reader to explore not just the experiences of his characters but also society and its ills.
The Poet TS Eliot is well known for his descriptive character based poems that represents reality and observations in society. He challenges the audience to not only look beyond the general creation of a character but to also relate their opinions to the real world. This can be seen in the poems Rhapsody published in 1915, and Preludes Published in 1917. Eliot allows the responder to consider how such social discontentment can also pervade modern society.
Eliot’s poem Preludes, thoroughly explores the fragmented state of mind of the persona, allowing the responder to connect with the character. In urbanization though time is constantly moving forward, there is a futile pattern in people’s lives which is described in the first and second stanza. In stanza one he recites “The winter evening settles down with smells of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock. Being set in winter, brings visual images of death and disease. The personification of the winter evening settling down represents a negative theme. From this statement we understand that Eliot believed that the quality of life after the Industrial Revolution is and will always be dull and monotonous. A strong emphasis on 6 o’clock shows that people exist in miserable, automatically programed lives and are unable to escape. The world is forever expanding and urbanization is moving so fast that it is taking over what used to be a wholesome, clean and free life.
Moreover, Eliot challenges the reader to look into the monotonous Quality of life and the destruction of society in the poem Preludes. During the industrial Revolution, many family bonds were corrupted for people began moving out of their homes and into urbanized areas to seek out work. The ever- changing yet constant aspect of time portrays the faults in society and how people exist in in miserable, automatically programed lives and are unable to escape. The world is forever expanding and urbanization is moving so fast that it is taking over what used to be a wholesome, clean and free life.
A major ill in society which was brought out in this poem is the evolvement of the image of women, in the line “You tossed a blanket from the bed you lay upon your back, and waited, you dozed, and watched the night revealing the thousand sordid images.” The use of the word ‘You’ evokes an emotional response from the reader. This relates to the corruption of the way women were portrayed during the Industrial Revolution. Being forced out of their homes in which they lived with their families, they relocated to urbanized cities to seek out work. Falling into immoral and unfortunate working industries, most young women have no choice but to go into prostitution and sexually exploit themselves in order to earn a living. Their living conditions were more than harsh, leaving a black hole in societies reputation.
T.S Eliot has a strong ability to challenge responder to explore the experiences of his characters. The reader is able to relate and dive- into the opinion of the persona which than links to the observation of the ills in society. The reader is dared to relate theses observations back to reality.