in what ways does Preludes by T. S. Eliot express the situation of modernity?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The image of the modern in Preludes by T. S. Eliot is conveyed through striking visual and sensual imagery of an urban wasteland, as in the lines:


One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.


This quotation evokes modernity in its portrait of mechanical reproduction that suggests that not only are the dingy shades mechanically reproduced and ugly but that the very life experiences of the people possessing the shades have been diminished and bereft of individual meaning by the depersonalizing fragmentation of urban life. The possibility of renewal and spiritual rebirth is presented as a dream world, in which imagination transforms the urban landscape to one into which love for God and neighbour can infuse hope, but that hope is not realized within the urban modern world.

cangiaaria | Student

In this poetry T.S. Eliot shows realistic images in order to give poetic dignity to little things of everyday life, because they can be "infinetly gentle" and "infinetly suffering". The brief landscapes images are the objective correlative of the conscience that evoke three senses: sight, hearing and smell. Only in the fourth prelude the atmosphere is more spiritual: the soul stretches in order to communicate with the immensity of the sky and there's a contrast between the soul which tries to establish points of communication with God and the verb "trampled", which stands for the monotous passage of the orizzontal time.