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what does the last stanza of TS eliot's poem "preludes" mean?the images,mood and the...

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prav92 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2011 at 2:50 PM via web

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what does the last stanza of TS eliot's poem "preludes" mean?

the images,mood and the final message

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kc4u | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted June 20, 2011 at 10:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Part IV  of Eliot's poem Preludes re-introduces the evening from the first part and the soul from the third. It  connects the images and themes from the previous sections together. The soul ''stretched tight across the skies'' may or may not be the same soul from the previous section. All souls in this metropolis are sordid and troubled as that of the streetwalker in section III.. This time, the soul is not projected on a finite ceiling, but on the infinite skies, which ''fade behind a city block'', thus ironically losing its cosmic infinitude,  or it is ''trampled by insistent feet'' which are another variant of the 'muddy feet' pressing for coffee in section II. As in the first stanza, the time is mentioned, but it is no precise ''six o'clock''. It no longer matters exactly what time it is, for it is all the same,the same things happening each day, each time, to each fragmented part of the fractured urban lifescape. The isolated fingers are stuffing pipes, to add more smoke and filth to the already obscured reality. The newspapers from section I return, ending up as ''newspapers from vacant lots'' to be wrapped by gusty winds around the feet. The eyes can not discern reality and read certainty.The street is blackened and obscured by soot and grime, and the street, like the eyes, is ''impatient to assume the world''. 

In the second stanza of Prelude IV, the narrator is heard for the first time speaking in the first person. There is a glimpse of hope that something positive can come out of all this filth and squalor. The narrator is moved by fancies that curl and cling like smoke around these 'images', and he can almost see something beyond the squalor, something Christ-like, the glimpse of the saviour. However, he can go no further; he and the reader are forced back to the false reality described throughout the poem. The vacant lot from the first section is here again, with the worlds compared  to old women collecting fuel rotating, as it were, in the earth's diurnal round. The 'infinitely gentle/Infinitely suffering thing' is only an illusion.

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