Assessment Task: Prufrock and Magi
‘Eliot’s poetry continues to engage readers through its utilisation of evocative techniques and modernist ideas’. Explore the above statement by referring to two poems set for study. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century many composers were influenced by the modernist movement. Writers were interested in representing the inner life of characters through their work. They were concerned with the essence which lay beneath the surface. T.S Eliot was chiefly influenced by the modernist movement and largely focused on the alienation and displacement and inner life of characters; which is evident in ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (‘Prufrock’) and ‘The Journey of the Magi’ (‘Magi’). Through the use of various modernist and literary techniques, Eliot is able to depict an industrialised society and highlight the alienation and inner life of the characters within these poems. Eliot evokes thought from the readers through the use of modernist techniques. ‘Prufrock’ can be looked at through a psychological approach – which looks at the psychological motivations of the characters or of the authors and also looks at the structure of personality: id, ego and superego. Prufrock fears that his tedious life will be revealed if he initiates a relationship with a woman. The lines “And how should I presume…And how should I begin?” show how he is unsure about how to approach women. He fears being scrutinised – “They will say: how his hair is growing thin!” In these lines he is describing how he sees himself and how he thinks others see him. The id inside Prufrock tries to encourage him to approach the women however his superego is making him fearful. We are soon able to see that Prufrock’s ego is rather shallow which is why his superego is trying hard to keep his true self hidden. The final lines of the poem “Till human voices wake us and we drown” indicate the dangers of never sharing one’s ego with others. The ‘we’ is...
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