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

1125 words 5 pages
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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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock also uses the urban society to show Eliot’s Modernist concern for the pretentiousness of modern society. Eliot uses metaphor and repetition of having to prepare a mask, “to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet” to highlight the false nature of modern society. The rhyme, “In the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo” emphasises the superficiality of the women who pretentiously talk of Michelangelo in order to appear knowledgeable. The women also aspire to achieve the greatness that Michelangelo achieved and are jealous of his abilities but they do not try to understand, emphasising the lack of spirit or conviction in modern society. The rhetorical question, “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?” emphasises Prufrock’s fear of judgement and criticism from society and the pretentiousness of society, who values only superficial beauty.

The personas in Preludes are created by Eliot to illustrate his Modernist concerns through stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness is employed by Eliot to allow us to view the thoughts and feelings of the personas, showing their inner state of consciousness as they interact within the environment. The