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Word Count: 1,103
T S Eliots The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and The Journey of the Magi reveal some of the major concerns of their early 20th century Modernist context Through continuous use of imagery ambiguity repetition allusions and purposeful contortion of lines and sentences Eliot demonstrates the importance of the inner self innovation religious questioning an uninviting and bleak society and a flaunting of conventions themes commonly associated with Modernism and the period after WWI Prufrock unlike the traditional lyrical love song is a dramatic monologue that focuses on the forlorn individual hiding behind meaningless social masquerades in cities while Magi presents a negative analysis of the journey of the Three Wise Men to the birth of Christ and details the alienation of one magus for whom it results in the death of his world This pessimistic cynicism towards life is a marking trait of Eliots poetry The first segment of Prufrock introduces a penchant for chaos and Prufrocks paralysis in the desolation of modern living The opening quote from Dante suggests Prufrock is confined in an earthly Hell The simile of the skylike a patient etherealised on a table destroys any romantic ambience and creates a smothering polluted image Set in the slums of a metropolis Prufrock describes the muttering retreats cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants in half-deserted streets This imagery of a torturously impersonal city its seedy atmosphere and tedious routine as well as a general sense of disorderliness and aimlessness is emphasized by the application of enjambment and unpatterned rhyme Yellow smoke and fog resembling the pathetic movements of a cat drifts towards drains soot filled chimneys and windowpanes They are representations of the citys factory smoke industrial waste and poverty so intimate to the wealthy women talking of Michelangelo yet so contradictory in lifestyle and stifling in effect This depiction of a defeatist depressed modern man who inhabits a squalid and spiritually deprived cityscape is aligned to Modernist ideas
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