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Analysis and comments on Preludes by T.S. Eliot

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Comment 20 of 140, added on May 3rd, 2006 at 6:51 AM.

Preludes is a deeply thought provoking poem. Eliot wrote this poem to make
mankind understand in waht condition we are living. He lived during the
time of the great depression and therefore, with this poem addressed many
issues which made mankind corrupt but the beauty part is that this poem
will always be relevant for future generations to come.

Muhammad Shaahid Abdool from South Africa
Comment 19 of 140, added on May 3rd, 2006 at 6:51 AM.

Prludes is such a poem that illustrates human misery and depression in such
a way that it makes one realise how common and lost our lives are. It also
creates the enthusiasm within a person to persist in chaniging his life
around in such a way that he finds peace and happiness within himself.

Zeyad Denath from South Africa
Comment 18 of 140, added on May 3rd, 2006 at 6:47 AM.

Preludes is an interesting poem that brings to light the issue of human
despair which is evident in todays' time. The poem is a prelude to what is
to come in the future - the total moral collapse of the world.

Tahseen Dasoo from South Africa
Comment 17 of 140, added on May 3rd, 2006 at 6:41 AM.

Preludes instills a deep consciouness of mans' degradation, turmoil and
depression in a modern age. It makes one introspect and creates a desire in
you to better your life and those around you.

Mohammed Nathie from South Africa
Comment 16 of 140, added on April 26th, 2006 at 2:16 AM.

i feel a strong emotional and spiritual conection with eliot as i feel we
have been brought up the same and understand the core of eachothers soul
truely. i feel the meaning of life lies within this literally magic. how
can this not be considered as one of the 7 wonders of the world. my oh my
(as my trusty subject os called) this is a miracle and i wish to continue
to cry mysrelf to sleep untill everyone has this view. thank you for your
valid valid time big it up for eliot

ts eliot superfan from Fiji
Comment 15 of 140, added on April 5th, 2006 at 3:09 PM.

Preludes is like 4 seperate poems that are linked: Winter evening in the
city, the monring after, women and man..

Comment 14 of 140, added on March 21st, 2006 at 5:44 PM.

From my own personal view, I see this poem as a way of a weekend. Friday
night we go out and party in the city, walkin around with nothing but the
street lights on and a smile on our faces. After leaving the club or a
concert with bars filled with laughter an joy. And then we go home and
crash into our beds. Then the next morning we wake up an work an just cant
wait to go out again. And then when we are going home getting ready to go
out and party we see the same street we where on an remeber what a great
night we had an what a great night is too come. When Eliot was writing this
mabe he had the idea of trying to say this same repetitiveness gets old an
all we do is party. Mabe he meant go out and party an have a great time. I
dont no.

Justin from United States
Comment 13 of 140, added on February 1st, 2006 at 12:55 PM.

hi, i am studying this for my AS Level and I am finding TS Eliot hard! His
style of writing is interesting though, and there really is a sense of
vacancy and a yearning for there to be some meaning. I think that just
because the poem is full of complicated images, doen't mean that it is

Jennie from United Kingdom
Comment 12 of 140, added on December 20th, 2005 at 10:43 AM.

“Preludes” is one of my favorite poems. It touches something deep in my
heart; it makes me ache for the despair of humanity. No one can quite
capture the grunge like Eliot. When you know the value of each human life
to its own self, when you think of the dreams and ideals of childhood and
adolescence, and how life has a way of grinding it out like the butt of a
cigarette, the poem is heartbreaking. What is the story behind the woman
whose soul is constituted of “a thousand sordid images”? Who stands behind
all those hands raising dingy shades? Somebody’s mother, brother, daughter?
Each a human life that will never be repeated, each trapped on one of the
least of those worlds that “revolve like ancient women gathering fuel in
vacant lots”…lost, hopeless, hurt and dirty.
It is the “infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing” that gives the
poem its meaning. It is the “infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing”
that gives life on this planet any meaning at all. If you know the core of
Eliot’s soul, then you understand what he is talking about.

Merril from United States
Comment 11 of 140, added on October 28th, 2005 at 8:03 AM.

I would like to explain what the ‘mood’ of the poem exactly is. T .S. Eliot
wrote this poem sometime in 1915 when the First World War had already begun
and was bringing about a great deal of social change, most of it unwelcome.
All the ‘past’ glory of England was turning into ‘present’ turmoil and
there was little inspiration to look forward to in ordinary life for poets
like Eliot and Pound. Their state of mental unrest finds clear expression
through their poetry. When Eliot gives the title ‘Preludes’ to this poem,
it must be understood that Eliot wanted this poem to introduce his new
style of approach to his audience, his poetry being markedly different from
that of the previous age. In fact, Preludes can be seen as an introductory
note to the poet’s magnum opus, “The Wasteland”.

One must carefully note the collocation of words and images in the poem
here. Eliot paints the landscape of his mind in carefully crafted verses.
They almost become a defining statement on the kind of life that prevailed
in many parts of England and the Western countries then.

The first clue to the mood of the poem comes in the first line itself. Each
word in this poem is part of the poet’s mental landscape. One must
understand that poetry reflects a poet’s attitude; therefore it is the
poet’s personal mood which shapes the mood of the poem as well. The word
‘winter’ symbolizes harshness, coldness and lifelessness. The poet is
therefore obviously not in one of his happy moods, having referred to
winter in the very first line of the poem. The dreariness of life is
reflected here. To winter is added the image of evening, which marks the
approach of night, again, symbolizing the approach of darkness into the
very lives of people. And Eliot says that this ‘winter evening’ settles
down, as if it to suggest that it is going to be this way only from now on.
The mood too is “settled” therefore in the very first line.

The smell of steaks in passageways suggests the mundane, ordinary nature of
life. Like what I said in the previous post, modern poets are primarily
preoccupied with the day-to-day life and utilise it as material for their
poetry. The smell of steaks pervades the air in passageways therefore, is
like how monotony pervades the lives of people. People eat the same steaks
everyday and every house by the passage cooks the same too!

Thus the burnt-out ends of cigarettes, the smoky days, the grimy scraps,
the withered leaves, the vacant lots, broken blinds, lonely cab horse are
all symbols that signify the monotony and dreariness of life. This is how I
interpret each image:

Burnt-out ends: People burnt out of all their vitality like a cigarette

Smoky days: Hazy days; the vision of man is blurred when the air is filled
with smoke; it also stifles breath- suggestive of poor living conditions.

Grimy scraps: Suggesting waste, rubbish and therefore wasted lives.

Vacant lots: void in the lives of people, void of meaning, void of purpose,

Broken blinds: suggestive of broken lives; of people unable to pull them
selves together and crumbling under emotional pressure or for whatever
other reason.

Lonely cab horse: also loneliness of man, the poet too included; each is
suffering singularly; embittered souls.

From this one can clearly understand what the mood of the poem is like.
Interpreting hidden meanings in the poem are essential to a complete
understanding of the poem and the poet’s attitude and that of the Age which
he represents. This explains why Shakespeare never wrote such things as
Eliot did. Reading the poem in the backdrop of history always helps. Of
course, every poet attempts to only generalize his personal experience and
therefore this poem may mean different things to different people owing to
the light in which they view it. It’d indeed be nice to know from the
readers what other relevance this poem might possibly have.

Vidya Venkat from India

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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Information about Preludes

Poet: T.S. Eliot
Poem: 3. Preludes
Volume: Prufrock and Other Observations
Year: 1917
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 26795 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 26 2007

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