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Modernism Defined at T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and James Joyce's The Dead

Project id 1003571
Subject area Other
Document type Essay
Words 2009
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Modernism is by no means easy to define. In fact, no one is exactly certain if the movement has even ended yet. But that's befitting of the period, as well as the pieces of literature which function to define Modernism. Two pieces, T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and James Joyce's "The Dead", are epitomes of this modernism. In both, the main characters are paralyzed by an inability to communicate, even while speaking. Whether through Prufrock's musings regarding love life, or Gabriel's inability to evoke certain feelings from his spouse, both guys undergo this effeminization of the intellect and communication. However, where does this communicative castration start? Most likely, in the bustling metropolises and dehumanizing philosophies that precipitate the Modernist movement. The modern man witnessed the killing of fifteen million people in the first Great War -- bestial at the sheer quantity of murder that this war generated. Meanwhile, modernity defined man's character for him: Darwinism told him that he was the offspring of lesser animals, that guy was, in character, himself a monster. Additionally, Freudian psychoanalysis told man that his psyche was the item of his childhood and sensual instincts. Defined by that which he had no control over, or was too young to consciously alter, the contemporary man's identity was no longer his to artifice, but society to manufacture in the behest of surroundings and upbringing. Making sense because, once we speak about personalities, sexualities and these today, we always hear the term "nature versus nurture". What about "self"? Is it true that the self have no control over those very crucial facets of individuality? Modernity has advised these guys "no", that they don't form their own identities but that all.

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