T.S. Eliot Gerontion poem and modernism

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How are modernist concepts portrayed in the T.S. Eliot poem Gerontion. I know that T.S. Eliot was a prominent figure in the modernist movement, but I was wondering about the literary devices and other elements in the poem that suggest ideals of modernists. Thank you.

Oct 15th, 2015

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Topics of modernity addressed

The Damaged Psyche of Humanity 

In the same way as other innovator journalists, Eliot needed his verse to express the delicate mental condition of humankind in the twentieth century. The death of Victorian goals and the injury of World War I tested social thoughts of manly character, making specialists address the sentimental artistic perfect of a visionary-writer fit for changing the world through verse. Innovator essayists needed to catch their changed world, which they saw as broke, distanced, and stigmatized. Europe lost a whole era of young fellows to the so's abhorrences called Great War, bringing about a general emergency of manliness as survivors attempted to discover their place in a fundamentally changed society. With respect to England, the consequential convulsions of World War I specifically added to the British's disintegration Empire. Eliot considered society to be deadened and injured, and he envisioned that culture was disintegrating and dissolving. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1917) exhibits this feeling of uncertain loss of motion as the main speaker ponders whether he ought to eat a bit of organic product, roll out a radical improvement, or in the event that he has the mettle to continue living. Humankind's aggregately harmed mind kept individuals from corresponding with each other, a thought that Eliot investigated in numerous works, including "A Game of Chess" (the second some portion of The Waste Land) and "The Hollow Men." 

The Power of Literary History 

Eliot kept up awesome love for myth and the Western abstract ordinance, and he pressed his work loaded with suggestions, citations, references, and insightful interpretations. In "The Tradition and the Individual Talent," an article initially distributed in 1919, Eliot applauds the scholarly custom and states that the best authors are the individuals who compose with a feeling of congruity with those journalists who preceded, as though all of writing constituted a stream in which each new essayist must enter and swim. Just the absolute best new work will inconspicuously move the stream's present and along these lines enhance the abstract custom. Eliot likewise contended that the abstract past must be coordinated into contemporary verse. Be that as it may, the artist must make preparations for over the top scholastic information and distil just the most fundamental bits of the past into a ballad, along these lines edifying perusers. The Waste Land compares sections of different components of artistic and mythic conventions with scenes and sounds from current life. The impact of this idyllic composition is both a reinterpretation of sanctioned writings and a verifiable connection for his examination of society and mankind. 

The Changing Nature of Gender Roles 

Through the span of Eliot's life, sex parts and sexuality turned out to be progressively adaptable, and Eliot mirrored those adjustments in his work. In the oppressive Victorian time of the nineteenth century, ladies were bound to the household circle, sexuality was not talked about or freely investigated, and a rigid environment directed most social collaborations. Ruler Victoria's passing in 1901 introduced another period of abundance and directness, now called the Edwardian Age, which endured until 1910. World War I, from 1914 to 1918, further changed society, as individuals felt both progressively estranged from each other and engaged to break social mores. English ladies started disturbing decisively for the privilege to vote in 1918, and the Jazz's flappers Age started smoking and savoring liquor open. Ladies were permitted to go to class, and ladies who could bear the cost of it proceeded with their training at those colleges that started tolerating ladies in the mid twentieth century. Pioneer authors made gay and lesbian characters and rethought manliness and gentility as attributes individuals could expect or disregard instead of as supreme personalities managed by society. 

Eliot at the same time commended the Victorian's end period and communicated worry about the flexibilities intrinsic in the advanced age. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" mirrors the sentiments of undermining experienced by numerous men as they returned home from World War I to discover ladies enabled by their new part as compensation workers. Prufrock, not able to settle on a choice, watches ladies meander all through a room, "discussing Michelangelo" (14), and somewhere else appreciates their fleece, exposed arms. A hatred for unchecked sexuality shows up in both "Sweeney Among the Nightingales" (1918) and The Waste Land. The last depicts assault, prostitution, a discussion about fetus removal, and different occurrences of nonreproductive sexuality. In any case, the ballad's focal character, Tiresias, is a bisexual—and his forces of prediction and change are, in some sense, because of his male and female genitalia. With Tiresias, Eliot makes a character that encapsulates wholeness, spoke to by the two sexes meeting up in one body. 



Eliot utilized discontinuity as a part of his verse both to exhibit the tumultuous condition of present day presence and to compare scholarly messages against each other. In Eliot's view, humankind's mind had been broken by World War I and by the British's breakdown Empire. Collaging odds and ends of dialog, pictures, academic thoughts, outside words, formal styles, and tones inside of one idyllic work was a path for Eliot to speak to mankind's harmed mind and the advanced world, with its blast of tactile discernments. Commentators read the accompanying line from The Waste Land as an announcement of Eliot's beautiful task: "These parts I have shored against my remains" (431). For all intents and purposes each line in The Waste Land echoes a scholarly work or sanctioned abstract content, and numerous lines additionally have long commentaries composed by Eliot as an endeavor to disclose his references and to urge his perusers to teach themselves by diving more profound into his sources. These echoes and references are pieces themselves, since Eliot incorporates just parts, as opposed to entire writings from the group. Utilizing these sections, Eliot tries to highlight intermittent topics and pictures in the scholarly convention, and additionally to place his thoughts regarding the contemporary condition of mankind along the range of history. 

Mythic and Religious Ritual 

Eliot's huge learning of myth, religious custom, scholastic works, and key books in the artistic convention educates each part of his verse. He filled his sonnets with references to both the dark and the surely understood, subsequently showing his perusers as he composes. In his notes to The Waste Land, Eliot clarifies the critical pretended by religious images and myths. He drew vigorously from antiquated fruitfulness ceremonies, in which the land's ripeness was connected to the Fisher's soundness King, an injured figure who could be mended through the penance of a model. The Fisher King is, thus, connected to the Holy Grail legends, in which a knight missions to discover the chalice, the main article fit for mending the area. At last, custom comes up short as the instrument for recuperating the no man's land, even as Eliot presents elective religious potential outcomes, including Hindu serenades, Buddhist addresses, and agnostic services. Later lyrics take their pictures solely from Christianity, for example, the echoes of the Lord's Prayer in "The Hollow Men" and the retelling of the savvy's account men in "Trip of the Magi" (1927). 


Eliot imagined the cutting edge world as a no man's land, in which neither the area nor the general population could consider. In The Waste Land, different characters are sexually baffled or useless, not able to adapt to either conceptive or nonreproductive sexuality: the Fisher King speaks to harmed sexuality (as indicated by myth, his weakness causes the area to shrivel and go away), Tiresias speaks to confounded or equivocal sexuality, and the ladies prattling in "A Game of Chess" speak to a wild sexuality. World War I not just killed a whole era of young fellows in Europe additionally destroyed the area. Trench fighting and compound weapons, the two essential routines by which the war was battled, pulverized vegetation, deserting waste and bloodletting. In "The Hollow Men," the speaker talks about the dead land, now loaded with stone and desert plants. Bodies salute the stars with their upraised hands, hardened from thoroughness mortis. Attempting to prepare the pulverization has brought on the speaker's psyche to end up fruitless: his head has been loaded with straw, and he is currently not able to think appropriately, to see precisely, or to consider pictures or musings. 



In Eliot's verse, water symbolizes both life and passing. Eliot's characters sit tight for water to extinguish their thirst, watch streams flood their banks, weep for downpour to extinguish the dry earth, and go by offensive pools of standing water. In spite of the fact that water has the regenerative probability of restoring life and fruitfulness, it can likewise prompt suffocating and passing, as on account of Phlebas the mariner from The Waste Land. Generally, water can suggest absolution, Christianity, and the figure of Jesus Christ, and Eliot draws upon these conventional implications: water rinses, water gives comfort, and water acquires alleviation somewhere else The Waste Land and in "Small Gidding," the fourth piece of Four Quartets. Prufrock hears the alluring calls of mermaids as he strolls along the shore in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," be that as it may, similar to Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey (ca. 800 B.C.E.), he understands that a malevolent purpose lies behind the sweet voices: the sonnet finishes up "we suffocate" (131). Eliot in this way alerts us to be careful with basic arrangements or cures, for what watches harmless may end up being extremely hazardous. 

The Fisher King 

The Fisher King is the focal character in The Waste Land. While composing his long sonnet, Eliot attracted on From Ritual to Romance, a 1920 book about the Holy's legend Grail by Miss Jessie L. Weston, for a large number of his images and pictures. Weston's book inspected the associations between old fruitfulness ceremonies and Christianit

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Oct 15th, 2015

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