Modernism

I wasn’t altogether very interested with the pieces that we had to read for this section of the class. I did enjoy the moments where I recognized a few lines such as T. S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Iconic. And then there was the first few lines from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherised upon a table

I don’t mind reading a few pages belonging to a single poem but there is something more aesthetically pleasing to my eyes.

The Hollow Men is beautifully melancholic save for the first stanza of part 5 which is just strangely playful. A lot of the lines referred to death and eyes which was interesting. The references to eyes was interesting because it brings to mind the idea that “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” The refusal to meet the eyes and the lack of eyes made me think of the eyes of god. It is in shame that these hollow men refuse to meet the eyes watching them and it is a sort of loss that these men are forced to wander the “hollow valley”, which based off of readings from a while ago made me think of war. As though the “eyes of god” will not look upon these broken men while they gather in a forbidden place. This probably isn’t what is going on since many of the page notes are talking about Dante references but it’s still what ends up coming to mind as I read these.

At times, I would picture a scarecrow with hollow eyes, straw sticking out, lifeless. These broken, hollowed men in a dead land of death and twilight, forgotten or ignored by their god. The religious imagery with Dante references and what I thought of is further shown with the Lord’s Prayer that appears in italics broken off from the rest of the stanza lines in the last two pages.

The fragmented sentences in the second to last makes me think of a broken person, crying and gasping for breath just to speak. They are desperately trying to say their prayer but cannot catch their breath in order to do so. And then the last stanza, the iconic quote, further puts this idea forth. A broken person, maybe dying, their world ending not “with a band but with a whimper.”

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