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T. S. Eliot's Style Analysis

In numerous respects, T. S. Eliot’s poems “articulated the disillusionment of a younger post-Planet-War-I generation with the values and conventions—both literary and social—of the Victorian era” (American National). Eliot employed The Waste Land and The Hollow Men to illustrate his feelings of a brutal age of war. The Waste Land was “taken more than by the postwar generation as a rallying cry for its sense of disillusionment” (American National). These feelings of disillusionment gave way to a more stable religious theme, such as in Journey of the Magi, later in Eliot’s career.

T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot was born September 26, 1888. Till he was eighteen, Eliot lived in St. Louis and then went on to attend Harvard. At twenty-two, right after earning each a bachelor’s and master’s degree, Eliot moved to the Sorbonne University in Paris. Soon after spending a year at the Sorbonne, Eliot returned to Harvard to pursue a doctorate in philosophy, but in 1914 he moved to England. In 1915, Eliot married his 1st wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood, and they moved into a London flat with Bertrand Russell.

Not only did Russell share his flat with the Eliots, but he also shared with them his social connections. With Russell’s help Eliot met many of Europe’s elite, which includes Ezra Pound. Pound helped Eliot to meet numerous of his modern authors, poets, and artists. Eliot and Russell’s partnership soured more than Russell’s romantic involvement with Vivienne, which led to Eliot not attending his Ph.D. dissertation defense.

It was throughout this time that Pound recognized Eliot’s poetic capability, and “in 1917 he received an massive enhance from the publication of his first book, Prufrock and Other Observations, printed by the Egoist with the silent economic support of Ezra and Dorothy Pound” (American National). Prufrock established Eliot as a major poet of the twentieth century. The years of Eliot’s poetic maturation have been accompanied by familial hardship. Eliot’s father died in 1919, at the same time as Vivienne’s mental and physical wellness started to deteriorate, and the emotional strain on Eliot took its toll. In 1921, Eliot suffered from a nervous collapse, and on his physician’s suggestions he took a three-month’s restive remedy.

Whether or not it was because of the breakdown or the extended-needed rest he received afterwards, Eliot recovered from a serious case of writer’s block. He took the time to finish a poem he had started in 1919, which became The Waste Land. The poem’s intensity stems from a blending of the horrors of Eliot’s life, the not too long ago fought war, and several literary influences from English mythology. Despite the fact that written for the duration of a really attempting time in his life, it was the publication of The Waste Land that created “Eliot’s reputation grow to nearly mythic proportions by 1930, and for the subsequent thirty years, he was the most dominant figure in poetry and literary criticism in the English-speaking world” (American National).

The Waste Land reveals itself as aptly titled, specially when the challenging and dream-like verses have yielded their secrets. The melancholy and morose lyrical feast unveils the aridity and impotence of contemporary civilization in a series of at times realistic and often surrealistic mythological episodes, whose perspectives overlap and underline every single other with an indescribable total impact. The comprehensive poem cycle consists of a mere 436 lines, but actually it includes much more meaning and influence than most novels of as a lot of pages. The Waste Land is now a lot more than eighty years old, but sadly it has proved that its catastrophic visions nonetheless have undiminished clairvoyance in the shadow of the digital age, and as Eliot stated about his own operate: “I do not see why the prospect of human annihilation ought to impact the poet differently from guys of other vocations. It will impact him as a human becoming, no doubt in proportion to his sensitiveness” (Hall Interview 221).

The surreal nature of The Waste Land is in itself a implies to Eliot’s ends. The poetic juxtapositions he uses let Eliot to generate a feeling of shock and awe to offset his message of a hopeless new age. The poem’s discontinuity, from this perspective, is a symbolic form of the confusion of awakening from a deep slumber. The poem’s use of allusions to the previous as nicely as its type have to be study as a sign of the disruptive power of primal forces reasserting themselves. It is hopeful to a Christian society to think that it lives in a globe where God is not dead, but the poem is not about such a world. The hope that The Waste Land holds is a adverse 1: “[t] he reality that men have lost the information of great and evil, keeps them from being alive” (Brooks 186). The Waste Land does not merely reflect the passing of the golden age of Victoria, but shows Eliot’s feelings of a society where individuals walk about morally dead. Beneath Eliot’s scathing criticism there lies a “profound and painful disillusionment, and out of this disillusionment there [grows] forth a feeling of sympathy, and out of that sympathy [is] born a developing urge to rescue from the ruins of the confusion the fragments from which order and stability may be restored” (Nobel).

The Waste Land was Eliot’s initial lengthy poem, and can be study as his philosophy on the need to still destructive human desires. There is little hope located in The Waste Land its key theme is the inevitable collapse of society via the “Unreal City,” which Eliot appears to use to represent post-war urban places. This “Unreal City” is often “[u] nder the brown fog” (Waste Land ll 61 & 208), which appears to represent the pall of death that hung more than much of Europe soon after World War I. The “Unreal City” is a nightmarish spot that parallels the urban decay and disintegration of the majority of Europe’s cities soon after WWI. The poem’s finale is an orgy of elemental and social violence, with “[those] who had been living […] now dying” and the “red sullen faces [that] sneer and snarl from doors of mudcracked houses” (Waste Land ll 329 & 344-45), representing the inevitability of death and the fear of man. What the poem attempts here, by pointing out the slow descent to death and the fear ascribed to that death, is the achievement of an elaborate code of conduct that is indicative of the desires, which Eliot feels should be repressed.

Even so, Eliot, consumed by the rigors of his domestic life, discovered it hard to totally appreciate his success. In 1923, Vivienne almost died, which practically sent Eliot into a second emotional breakdown. Over the subsequent two years, Eliot continued down his path of emotional despair, until a lucky possibility allowed him to quit his overly demanding job at Lloyd’s Bank. The infant publishing business of Faber and Gwyer saw the advantage of possessing a literary editor who was versed both in letters and enterprise and hired Eliot. Eliot had lastly located a job for which he was suited.

The seeds of his future faith take root in The Hollow Males, though when published in 1925 the poem reads as the sequel to the philosophical despair of The Waste Land. Even though The Hollow Guys is not really a sequel to The Waste Land, it is a thematic appendix to this earlier work. Like The Waste Land, The Hollow Males shows the depths of Eliot’s despair and want for a compass by which to guide himself. By starting the poem with “Mr. Kurtz–he dead,” Eliot taps into Conrad’s theme in Heart of Darkness of the death of the gods of primitive guys. The death of Kurtz, the god of Conrad’s African primitives, shadows the death of the primitive elemental forces that govern Eliot’s life, like some ancient thunder god. With the death of his primitive gods, Eliot becomes one particular of the hollow males and need to uncover some thing with which to fill himself up once again.

The Hollow Guys requires place in a twilight planet of lost souls and disembodied forces. This planet is peopled by “[s]hape[s] with out kind, shade[s] with out colour, paralysed force[s], gesture[s] with no motion” (Hollow ll 11-12). These hollow men are walking corpses, soulless men and women who do not know that they have lost their souls. These males reside in a “valley of dying stars” (Hollow ll 54), a land that is as hollow as they are themselves. The hollow guys avert their eyes not only from every other, but also from the eyes of the divine they are empty guys estranged from God. They are the shadow that isolates males from every other and the divine these hollow males are the unenlightened masses, devoid of a moral compass. These hollow males share the fate of “inhabit[ing] ‘death’s dream kingdom,’ not remembered, to be confident, as ‘lost violent souls,’ but, not on the other hand, even memorable” (Kenner 161).

Although there is tiny hope for the hollow guys in their “twilight kingdom” (Hollow ll 38), there is life outdoors in “death’s other kingdom” (Hollow ll 46). This other kingdom, God’s kingdom, is peopled by the stuffed men: those who found their souls and are no longer hollow. Eliot’s hollow males look to believe, at least to some degree, that if they withstand “the twilight kingdom” they might uncover some rebirth in “death’s other kingdom.” Via Eliot’s use of the snippets of the Lord’s Prayer in the poem’s conclusion, he implies that the hollow men’s adverted eyes may possibly when once more turn to the divine and they could turn into members of the stuffed men.

The Hollow Males appears to be Eliot’s final exorcism of the d?mons of his troubled youth. Merely two years after the publishing of the poem, Eliot’s life began to head in a slightly much more steady direction. In 1927 two essential items happened in Eliot’s life: he identified God in the Church of England and he became a British citizen. Although Eliot’s marriage and personal life continued to disintegrate, he began to uncover solace in his new partnership with God. As a result, Eliot’s emotional turmoil of his youth gave way to a religious maturation both in his person and his poetry. With his latter religious poems such as Journey of the Magi, Eliot tries to capture God’s calming influence on his life and share it with other folks.

Journey of the Magi is the monologue of 1 of the 3 wise guys, come to see the nativity. Though he believes in the value of the birth he comes to witness, confirmed by his willingness to travel to Bethlehem, the magi is not jubilant but melancholy. He has been “led all that way for Birth or Death” (Magi ll 35-36), but does not comprehend that which he has truly come to see: the child’s birth or his personal death. It is not till he witnesses the scene that the magi really knows the answer.

Upon his journey home the magi realizes the genuine purpose for his journey: “It is not that the Birth that is also Death has brought him hope of a new life, but that it has revealed to him the hopelessness of the earlier life” (Smith 122). This realization has not filled him with the fervor or elation of these touched by God, but the morose emptiness of one particular whose life has been exposed for the fallacy that it is. The magi need to now return residence to face the “alien folks clutching their gods” (Magi ll 42). His transformation is so comprehensive that he can no longer relate to his personal individuals, the magi now knows the true God, and the gods of his people become as alien to him as his men and women now look.

Eliot utilizes the magi to represent his own sacrifice “he has reached essentially, on a symbolic level true to his emotional, if not to his intellectual, life, the humble, unfavorable stage that in a mystical progress would be prerequisite to union” (Smith 123). In other words, Eliot has reached the quite limit of private tribulation, and by means of his acceptance of God, and the sacrifice of his old emotional turmoil he has been reborn into a new version of himself. “Uncertainty leaves [the magi] mystified and unaroused to the complete splendor of the strange epiphany” (Smith 124), and Eliot seems to view his personal sacrifice with some melancholy, as if his uncertainty matches the magi’s. Even although there is uncertainty in Eliot’s transformation, he has matured sufficient to realize the calmness of his faith is almost certainly better in the extended run than the “old gods” of his tumultuous heathenism.

By means of the reading of his perform it is effortless to see why, in 1948, Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry” (Nobel). Just in examining these three poems alone, they can be seen as definitions of poetry itself: they masterfully show the feelings and experiences of the poet in a way that elicits a related reaction from the reader. If these poems are deemed among the complete physique of his perform, they retain the very same which means as effectively. Eliot spent his profession cataloguing his life via its translation into poetry. This sort of expansive self improvement and refinement is a mark of achievement for any person, but his capability to turn his life into verse to which anyone can expertise sets Eliot apart as a genuinely excellent poet.

Works Cited

Brooks, Cleanth Jr. “The Waste Land: An Analysis”. A Norton Critical Edition: T.S. Eliot The Waste Land. Ed. Michael North. New York: Norton & Organization, 2001. pp. 185-210.

Cooper, John Xiros. T.S. Eliot and the Politics of Voice: The Argument of “The Waste Land”. Ann Arbor: UMI Investigation Press, 1987.

Eliot, T.S. The Hollow Men. Collected Poems: 1909-1962. London: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1991.

Eliot, T.S. Journey of the Magi. Collected Poems: 1909-1962. London: Harcourt Brace & Firm, 1991.

Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land. Collected Poems: 1909-1962. London: Harcourt Brace & Firm, 1991.

Kenner, Hugh. The Invisible Poet: T.S. Eliot. London: W.H. Allen, 1960. pp. 161-164.

“T.S. Eliot”. American National Biography. Ed. John A Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. <>.

“T.S. Eliot and Donald Hall”. Remembering Poets: Reminiscences and Opinions. New York: Harper & Row, 1978. pp. 203-221.

“T.S. Eliot Presentation Speech”. Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967. Editor Horst Frenz. Amesterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1969.

Smith, Grover. T.S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956. pp.122-124.
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