“Only in love does the carnal become transcendent” (Hedges 117) and love is a constant battle beetween expectation and reality. We find ourselves easily deluded by a compromise of carnal urge and true humanity, by which we generally choose the carnal. As a teenager handling a sex craved society, often have I found it prudent to evaluate the true essence that is consummation. Is it valuable to me for the external pleasure aspect, or for the transcendence in love that it may facilitate? For there have been moments in my life where I have had the ability to experience what that pleasure might be, but I shied away for my heart told me that it was not what I truly wanted. Upon the consideration of these events and the morality of my heart I found a crux. That perhaps all along, the one thing I have yearned for is to give love and be loved in return. In my waiting, I search for a person, a lover that understands me in essence and passion and reciprocates. However, we as a society, in spite of this true passion, have allowed ourselves to be tricked by the delusion of a quickly fading imperfect image of love that mocks its externality and throws to the wind its true essence. Human interaction in terms of this image, this consummate idealism of sexuality, yields startling results that portrays the carnal urge over the essence. Beyond the delusion, consummation has been abused to produce selfish endeavors. Societal avarice becomes a doorway to the convoluted belief that the most prominent value of which to judge by is sexual consummation. Caught between righteousness and consummation the balancing begins; society compromises the two whom should be entirely separate in order to profit from external pleasures, sacrificing justice for perfection, for consummation. We continue this path of self-centered idealism toward an insanity that rips us from substantial love, promoting superficiality and rapaciousness.
The image of sexuality becomes a tool to those in our society that treasure delusion. In the Canterbury Tales the ‘Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” elucidates an abuse of sexuality to the end of gaining material wealth. The Wife of Bath testifies to her sexual endeavors, whilst admitting that through sexuality she controls men:
My husband shall have it eve and morrow
Whenever he likes to come and pay his debt,
I won’t prevent him! I’ll have a husband yet
Who shall be both my debtor and my slave
And bear his tribulation to the grave
Upon his flesh, as long as I am his wife. (Chaucer 280).
Men become futile to overcome her prowess in sexual manipulation. The idea sprouts from her dissertation that she sells her body in order to achieve her delusional belief in monetary wealth. The cost of her body forces her man to become her debtor. A slave is the net result, and she uses her abusive sexuality to conduct her slave husbands as puppets. In the course of this path, we become witnesses to the tool-like wielding of consummation to gain societal standing. The abuse of such a level of sexuality verily results in a lack of morality.
The wielding of sexuality as a tool elicits internal decimation, for it disillusions us from a sense of righteousness. In the epic poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the girdle acts as a vehicle to illustrate Gawain’s personal destruction and rejection of virtue, through the wielding of sex, done by Bertilak’s wife, in relation to societal laws. Struck by the iniquity of the girdle, donned to him, subversively, through explicit sexual behavior with Bertilak’s wife, Gawain is compelled to “[hide] her love-gift in a secret place / … so he could find it later / [before going] swiftly to the chapel” (Raffel 1874-1876). Gawain’s morality is destroyed as he cowers in light of giving the girdle to Bertilak or telling the priest for fear of societal laws; the uncovering of his actions with Bertilak’s wife would shed light upon his lasciviousness. The abusive sexuality utilized by Bertilak’s wife has placed Gawain in a struggle to maintain his societal endeavors and his carnal urge to consummate. The girdle represents his selfish urge, for society would have him give the girdle up; but he cannot. Instead, Gawain flees from the problem by means of the easiest possible solution, choosing to seek cowardice and hiding the girdle, the sign of his secret affair, in the face of retaliation for his actions. Thus, has the wielding of sexuality as a tool toward schemes by Bertilak’s wife compromised Gawain’s morality in terms of societal laws, it is an internal decimation created by her abuse.
The ruin of internal decimation constructs barriers that result in conflict between human understanding and societal convention. As seen in SGGK, Gawain’s compromised morality becomes his downfall as the Green Knight deals him punishment for disregarding societal law. The sentence becomes an attack, not for the kisses bestowed to Gawain from Bertilak’s wife, but rather for his lack of loyalty to societal convention, for the Green Knight confesses, “it was all my scheme! / She made trial of a man most faultless by far… / yet you lacked sir, a little loyalty there” (SGGK 2361-2362 … 2366). Ergo, the internal decimation at the hands of the abuse of sexuality yields a societal response in terms of punishment. This demonstrates society’s obsession with conventional justice in terms of consummation. The interest to live now conflicted by the girdle comes to clash with societal beliefs of repressing consummation, thus Gawain bleeds. The Green Knight understands Gawain’s urge to live, his corrupted moralities in light of the rules of society. However, the punishment must remain, Gawain must live his sin and thus “the nick on his neck he naked displayed / that he got in his disgrace at the Green Knight’s hands, / alone” (2598-2500). In this sense, Gawain’s punishment is a Hawthorne scarlet letter. He will live with the scar of his impudence, a sign that his internal decimation caused him to battle society to his loss. Society has become the tool of sexuality and the enforcer of laws against it; thus, we are left searching for what the world requires of us, repression or abuse.
Society yearns for justice, but it dually yearns for the external pleasures to be maximized; society focuses to find ways to pleasure itself behind the back of the parenting figure of justice. Oscar Wilde in his masterpiece The Picture of Dorian Grey demonstrates human obsession with external pleasure. Lord Henry witnesses the beauty of the character Dorian Grey; with his thorough understanding of the conceptions of society, Lord Henry perceives that, “A new hedonism is what our century wants. [Dorian] might be its visible symbol” (Wilde 39). The ideology of hedonism claims pleasure as the ultimate object of good. However, in Lord Henry’s affirmation of Dorian’s born purpose, he has to compromise society’s dual obsession with justice in order to validate his claim. Lord Henry dismisses the obsession entirely as he tells Dorian “don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving your life away to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar” (39). Lord Henry demonizes justice to Dorian; thus he becomes pleasure’s champion, its recruiter, adding to the ranks a perfect embodiment of beauty and external goods, the consummate individual. To Lord Henry, and those of us who are deluded by societal immorality, we value consummation not for the essence of love, but for the externality.
Pleasure becomes the ultimate advocate for the value of consummation, and within society it becomes an esteemed goal. In fulfilling his role as the new symbol for hedonism, Dorian Grey accepts the position and claims a new hedonism for the ages. He figures, “yes, there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism… It was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, was to be experience itself” (Wilde 143). Thus, Dorian was to be the “completed, perfected, fully accomplished” (OED), consummate individual. By seeking experience solely for the pleasure of experience he sought to be “of the highest degree; absolute, total; supreme” (OED); he sought to become consummate beyond all other goals. Dually, has the word come to exemplify both Dorian’s wishes, but the societal take on external pleasures. Evaluating the verb definition of consummate, which became “(more generally) to have sexual intercourse,” we see the idea of consummation to have evolved into perfection founded in explicit sexual activity and generally the experience of external pleasure. This demonstrates society’s growing obsession with the consummate individual who maximizes external pleasures. Our society elevates humans to super star status, glorifying them for being nothing but people who are enthralled with pleasure. It allows for Dorian’s elevation to a stature of perfection solely for being someone obsessed with pleasure. However, the rest of humanity is not Dorian Gray, and we but finite and faulty beings; what of the outcome of such an endeavor, to be consummate?
To those of us whom strive to be that consummate individual, the one whom maximizes external pleasure, what occurs? In the balancing of society and consummation, human beings are left disheveled in spirit, for in the end, it destroys you. In T.S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Eliot describes a man that has sacrificed his passion and morality, hoping instead to be a man of pleasure and life, pleasing societal expectations. The poem resounds as the man recounts his life as an entirety of regret, his life has sent him to his death and Eliot affirms, “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed in seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us and we drown” (Eliot 127-130). According to Eliot, Prufrock, and others like him live their life asleep, waiting for the moment they awake to drown by reality. It is a death due to living in a shadow of true reality. In Arthur Miller’s A Death of a Salesman, Willy is shown to be a man that has spent his life being defeated by society, whilst society shoves him back into the ring; he attempts personally to reconcile his failures with sexual endeavors to no avail. In the moment that his farce is uncovered by his son, Biff affirms his father’s failure as he shouts, “You fake! You phony little fake! You fake!” (Miller 1341). This life of striving to be an ideal consummate individual destroys us as surely as Willy is shown to be a phony. In this we are all phony little fakes, waiting for our farce to be uncovered. We destroy our world with this impossible game. What roads must we seek to defeat this destruction?
Consummation is but one avenue to pleasure and happiness. In the most recent episode of New Girl, the character Nick comes to a startling revelation. He tells his friend Jess, at the end of the episode, “I’m not ready for meaningless sex” (New Girl). Nick realizes that despite his urge to have a vanishing external pleasure that instead he wishes to have a life of meaningful love with someone important to him. His experiences have led him to understand the iniquity of endeavoring to be a man obsessed with consummating. Upon the considerations of his heart’s purity and his reason, Nick becomes the opposite of Lord Henry. He becomes not the champion of any such quest to find pleasure, but rather a man who understands its purpose and that to abuse that purpose is to destroy one’s self. I find Nick to be wise, not like the selfish, self-loving, and often, despite their wisdom, cynical and obtuse characters of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Those character’s elevate happiness and the experience of it through the external beyond all else. The periodical from the pop-culture criticism website Videogum “Everyone is Divorced,” demonstrates this inequality. The article evaluates the recent uproarious obsession with the Kim Kardashian marriage and divorce, it reflects upon how much we are obsessed with the idea of happiness, and not its implications. The author states, “we place so much value on the emotional state of happiness while we devalue unhappiness, when the reality is that they are just two emotional states we will all find ourselves experiencing in our lives and… they are actually equal” (“Everyone is Divorced”). Our lives embody pain and happiness, and when we overuse one, we destroy it. Learning from Nick, I use a sense of heart when I am tempted. Witnessing ads in our world, I come across a Budweiser advertisement. I may be a young man, but I now see through the trickery. They cover her body parts with bottle caps while a beer bottle rests in her hand above her waist (Budweiser). The ad whispers to you that consummation rests in intoxication, and they sell this idea to young men for it is what they have come to value. However, if this is the outcome of societal avarice, there has to be a way out.
Continuing upon the idea that Nick subtly found, that to listen to one’s self rather than societal obsessions is to be good, we are left asking: how am I to do this? The answer is not far, and has been discovered long before. You must realize delusions for what they are, and be rid of them. Listen to Thoreau in Where I lived, and What I lived for, as he affirms, “shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life … would be like a fairy tale” (Thoreau 894). Thus, the key to establish a path to self-reliance is to first realize the potential of living without addictive attachment to illusory obsessions such as sex and external pleasures. He affirms that if we realize the reality, that in consummation exists the essence of love, that our lives become something wonderful, something that he can only describe with the beauty of fiction. For it can be healthy to desire consummation for the sake of love, but to obsess over it for the sake of pleasure, is to destroy it. It is not our natural state as beings of conscience and reason to defy nature and abuse it. Emerson aids in his essay Nature that, “the lover of nature is he whose inward and outward sense are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy into the era of manhood” (Emerson 494). Thus, young men today would know that consummation should be balanced not by society, but by the self. Our heart retains the ability to be loving beings, we must adjust our hearts to our surroundings.
Understanding the circumstances and our abilities to be healthy and loving, we come closer to how we are supposed to live. Using our hearts, destroying delusions, and adjusting to our natural state, we have found ways to combat societal lust. One last piece exists in this solution, that we should live a life calmly, and purely, for “when we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, -that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality” (Thoreau 895-895). Consummation is but one avenue to pleasure and happiness, let us seek what road suits us best at any moment, never forsaking one for another because of delusions, for we can see beyond that. Our senses have the ability to save our hearts from its own destruction, and our hearts have the ability to cure our senses from its delusions. We are the perfect balance, and we must realize that we have the ability to be soulful. We know that while sex leads to that fleeting moment of ultimate pleasure, that using it in such a way leads to pain despite how society may sell it to us. Let us know that “nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul” (Wilde 37). The heart and the sense will doubly guide us and balance the other. In such a way, are we saved from, and now live in union with, consummation.
8:39 pm 7 notes
January 4 2012
Post tags: work marie borroff Laura L. Howes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Budweiser Geoffrey Chaucer the Canterbury Tales Consummate OED Oxford English Dictionary t.s. eliot Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature Videogum Chris Hedges Losing Moses on the Freeway New Girl arthur miller death of a salesman Henry David Thoreau Where I Lived and What I Lived For Walden Oscar Wilde A Picture of Dorian Grey
The winter evening settles down II The morning comes to consciousness III You tossed a blanket from the bed IV His soul stretched tight across the skies -T.S. Eliot, Preludes
With smell of steaks in passageways.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimneypots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That times resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.
The winter evening settles down
The morning comes to consciousness
You tossed a blanket from the bed
His soul stretched tight across the skies
-T.S. Eliot, Preludes
Erstwhile- Evanescent- Panacea
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect… but actually, from a nonlinear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff,” claims the Doctor in the British television show, Doctor Who. In one episode, he explains to a friend, of the vast intricacies of time, hoping to convey its elusiveness in reality, paradoxical nature, and the inability to complete translate its whole meaning into words. The Doctor, a time and space traveling Time Lord alien, who ages past nine hundred years, and whose cosmic intellect allows him to save not only his loved-ones and friends from imminent danger, but also on several occasions, saves the entire planet, stands as the sole being in the universe to have the ability to grasp an understanding of time and its complexities. Not unlike twentieth century, Nobel peace prize winning, critically acclaimed poet, T.S. Eliot, the Doctor consistently finds himself wrapped in the fabric of time. Yet, unlike the Doctor, Eliot attempts a much more humble approach to seeking time’s meaning. Instead, he composes “Burnt Norton,” a Nobel peace prize winning verse that aids readers in constructing a personal comprehension of reality and experience in the context of time. In T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” Eliot uses poetic verse to bring about a personal comprehension of reality and experience by utilizing theory of time and relative paradoxes, effective word choice, and contextual imagery.
Primarily, Eliot theorizes heavily upon the concept of time in order to conquer the unreality of time itself within the audiences’ understanding brining about a personal comprehension of reality and experience. Eliot’s usage of his own personal theory of time, that time remains wholly in its constituents nonrelative to reality yet allows for the comprehension of reality itself, illustrates to his audience his own nonlinear perception of time by describing time from an outside viewpoint, allowing for the prerequisites to understanding reality and experience. Beginning his verse, Eliot first breaks and dismisses the natural human perception of time by explaining its unnatural qualities that normally escape the human view: “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future, / And time future contained in time past.” (Eliot 1.1-3) Dismantling the reader’s idea of time, Eliot, “collapses the divisions of time, giving us the eternal presence of all time or the aspect of eternity” (Williamson 211). Thus with the strength of time to bend to his will, Eliot continues to expand the reader’s understanding to time’s abstractness. Continuing on the abstractness Eliot writes: “If all time is eternally present / All time is unredeemable” (1.4-5). The reader comes to understand that, “‘all time is unredeemable,’ ” for redemption depends upon the differences in time, what might have been remains possible only in thought. Yet, the unrealized and realized aspects of the past point to the same end when all time is collapsed into the present” (Williamson 211). Thus with the understanding of time’s ubiquitous nature, Eliot aims to explain the solid point of time, “time is unredeemable.”
Continuing upon an explanation of the nature of time itself, Eliot begins to describe the focus of the poem that connects to the very creation of ideas from experience, issuing an understanding of reality and experience. Ideas of human nature sprout from memory and experience of reality, thus in attempting to explain this quality of experience Eliot incorporates it: “What might have been is a distraction / Remaining a perpetual possibility / Only in a world of speculation” (1.6-8). Aiming to fulfill a new perception of time, “Eliot’s poem suggests an awareness that the “present” means more than “here and now” – it also means “apparent to the imagination” (Bush 197). Speculation of what “might have been” indicates Eliot’s aim, that he pursues the understanding through a course of speculation of analyzing scattered memories, giving the present more meaning. A source of new memories, the present, to Eliot, means “apparent to the imagination.” The grasp of time requires one to understand that, “[time’s] psychological demands is to make us accept the necessity of history and future projection” ( Gould 1213). In that, time’s elements relate directly to one’s source of knowledge, that because of time we speculate out actions of consequences pertaining to history and the future; this allows us to gain a new sight on how time causes experience and reality to fluctuate.
Furthermore, having conquered human perceptions of reality and experience through analyzing time itself from a non-linear viewpoint, Eliot builds upon his newfound conception of time by analyzing its paradoxes in order to bring about a personal comprehension of reality and experience. By breaking down the conceptions of time into ideas that transcend literality, Eliot expands upon a personal comprehension of reality and experience. Jumping from abstractness to utter paradoxical ideas, Eliot pursues the elusive nature of time in that: “what might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present” (1.9-10) Eliot describing the meaning of speculation of the past, claims that it “points to one end.” The end, that being the present, represents the meaning of speculation and, “when the word [end] is linked with ‘beginning’ in the context of ideas about form and pattern and life have apparently paradoxical statements that we begin to think of end as meaning ‘completion,’ ‘purpose,’ and even ‘final cause’” (Garden 52). Thus, Eliot suggests that in the present one should seek “end,” that “final cause” and “purpose” that offers validation to speculation.
Initiating verse with a contemplation of the abstract paradox of love existing as an effect of the ‘present’ but having a purpose outside of a ‘present’ view of time allows Eliot to dig deep into a personal comprehension of reality and experience:
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself, unmoving;
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring,
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being. (5.26-32)
Thus, in order to conquer time and fulfill that paradoxical “end” one must use love, for, “love is timeless, and only appears as desire when caught in the aspect of time, the realm of Becoming, not of Being. Thus desire may lead to love, movement to stillness, and the conquest of time through time is achieved” (Williamson 217). Experience, Eliot perceives, contains meaning within the human sense of time, yet more importantly, experience contains meaning in the paradoxical nature of time. In that, it allows action to even occur; he suggests that experience of love, something that remains unmoving in the nature of time, for it, itself remains like time, timeless, causes the wheels and grinds of one’s life to move.
Plundering the depth of his perception of time’s paradoxes, Eliot furthers his conquest with other much more subtle tools. The word choice Eliot utilizes emphasizes emotion that allows him to construct a personal comprehension of reality and experience. Eliot uses a carefully chosen association of words in order to effectively pull the reader into the depth of the poem to bring about a personal comprehension of reality and experience. Intending to dive into the cavern of human understanding, Eliot calls out to the reader to allow his entrance into their hearts. He beats on the perception of time and reality and experience until the reader recognizes its intricacies. He sounds your memories, calling you in, in that your: “footfalls echo in memory” (1.11). These five words, carefully chosen by Eliot describe that, “‘footfalls echo in the memory,’ has a three-dimensional solidity which connects the poem to the external world at the same time as it connects back to the abstractions already detailed for us in the opening lines” (Raffel 128). With the intention of the reader being unable to ignore his or her own memories, being called by this outside source, Eliot forces the reader to realize the interconnectedness of the external and abstract worlds that exist around and within the present. Traversing onward, Eliot figuratively walks with the reader down the lanes of the of their memories to worlds of speculation, which the reader can now access:
Down the passage we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind (1.12-15).
Eliot, with the intention of building a personal comprehension of time, ensures that the reader can create his or her own unique comprehension through the exploration of completely original memories. Eliot cleverly knows that, “memory or the mind includes both aspects of the past, both the unrealized and realized. Thus his words can raise echoes in the reader, who has had similar experience” (Williamson 211). With master technique, Eliot manipulates the reader’s conscientious to resonate and, “echo” their own memories within their own mind, creating a truly personal comprehension of reality and experience.
Consecutively, Eliot’s mastery of word choice in order to communicate abstract ideas enables him to build a personal comprehension of reality and experience. By using words to signify a depth that can have purpose when exposing the nature of memory and time, Eliot constructs verse to bring about a greater personal comprehension of experience and reality. Playing with words to entice the reader to follow, Eliot writes that: “other echoes / Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow” (1.19-20) Eliot aims to grapple with the external world with a human perception of the internal by utilizing memory and the ability to speculate, and thus chooses the correct words to subtly convey this to the reader. Grappling with the non-reality of the subject in how it pertains to the memories that shape experience, Eliot has the reader hear that, “other echoes besides the footfalls inhabit the “rose-garden,” which has become associated with “what might have been.” And he can invite the reader, who is now his fellow, to follow them” (Williamson 211). Thus with this tool, Eliot can explore with the reader their own comprehension of reality and experience in that he can have the reader search out his or her own echoes, not one of his creation, but of theirs. Traveling at this speed, Eliot flushes the reader onward: “Down the passage we did not take / Towards the door we never opened / Into the rose-garden (1.12-14). Attracting the reader, “Eliot’s pattern directly in contrast with the sense and rhythm pattern sounds the footsteps of a being that can have no more concrete manifestation. / We are conditioned by the time we follow Eliot “Down the passage we did not take / … Into the rose-garden,” his words have indeed echoed in our mind” (Bush 198). Eliot wraps the reader around his will in that he can further his search for meaning and understanding.
Beyond the surface of word choice to deliver the necessities to grasping a personal comprehension of reality and experience, the contextual imagery that Eliot employs concerning the garden develops into a tool that he exploits in order to bring about a personal comprehension of reality and experience. Eliot uses the bird as a tool and the sense of childhood urgencies to compel the reader to cross with the bird on its venture to further an understanding in the reader of a personal comprehension of reality and experience. With playful images, Eliot calls to the bird that calls back to have the reader follow:
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world. (1.21-24)
The image of the thrush, a phyla of bird species, peels the reader into the rose-garden, pass the gates, into their first world of memory where Eliot can expound understanding. Levity to the dense subject explains Eliot’s use of the bird in that, “the bird acts as if in a game, introducing us to the childish vision which “confounds the actual and the fanciful” – here used to convey something real, yet not real, unrealized desire or experience” (Williamson 211-212). Using this kind imagery, Eliot furthers it with: “go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children, Hidden, excitedly, containing laughter” (1. 42-43). Thus discussing the utter elusiveness of time, Eliot asks the reader to withhold their mature judgment and instead requests that the reader “sees the bird the bird as an evocation of childhood urgencies” (Raffel 128). All allows Eliot to effectively pull the reader into the chasm of unreality that allows the reader to speculate on time, giving them a personal comprehension of reality and experience.
Moreover, the choice of imagery of which Eliot utilizes, conveys the intention of his attitude toward the predicament and aid in structuring the comprehension of reality and experience. Attempting to bring about a clear personal comprehension of reality and experience, Eliot creates imagery to evoke memories in the reader to aid in their understanding. Vaguely, Eliot describes an idea of a memory that sprouts from the reader; the essence of a lighter movement:
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage (5.3-36).
This call upon memories invokes a new sense in the reader, “at the close of “Burnt Norton” a ‘moment of happiness’ / … is made concrete by the image of a shaft of sunlight which transfigures the world” (Garden 48). Even with the complexity of time, Eliot wants the reader to know of its beauty, to know that in time there lays memory of beauty, gleeful like “children in the foliage.” Eliot intends for the reader to know that time finds itself surrounded by life, that “this is final concrete statement of what Burnt Norton is about; but it recalls the experience we have given in a different rhythm and with different descriptive accompaniments in the second half of the first movement, as the sun for a moment shines from the cloud, and the while deserted garden seems to become alive” (Garden 49). Eliot proceeds to wipe the humanity of time, he explains for the last time that time remains outside the context of human understanding: Quick now, here, now, always- / Ridiculous the sad waste time / Stretching before and after (5.37-39). With the last stroke, Eliot recalls to the reader that time starts where it ends, and ends where it begins, hence the play with words in the second the last line, and the explanation in the last.
In T.S. Eliot’s, “Burnt Norton,” Eliot employs graceful rhyme to convey a particular understanding of reality and experience by exploiting philosophy of time and relative paradoxes, effective word choice, and circumstantial imagery. Time, the most nonsensical idea, spirals about the life, serendipitously affects the cause that gives the next effect, and yet cannot remain within a linear context. Man acts in a manner in which he attempts to perceive that the past will remain behind him, and the future ever forward. And, yet, this anxious manner of expectation causes man to neglect the ever existent present. Ignoring the life around him, man lives to his death never perceiving the utter depth of time’s contradictory, intricate, cosmic, and beautiful presence. Man never really lives. Yet, to grasp a pure understanding of time remains wholly impossible. An over simplification does not do justice, but a simplification of the complexity of time may result in a recognition of its impossibility, and thus one must recognize that time “[is] more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff.”
Bush, Ronald. T.S. Eliot A Study In Character and Style. New York: Oxford University Press,
Eliot, Thomas. “Burnt Norton.” 1935. The Norton Anthology American Literature. Vol. 2. New
York: Norton, 2008. Print.
Gardner, Helen. The Art of T.S. Eliot. New York: Dutton & Co INC, 1950.
Gould, Eric. ““Recovering the Numinous: Lawrence and Eliot” Mythical Intentions in Modern
Literature.” The Chelsea House Library of Literary Criticism. Ed. Harold Bloom. Vol. 2.
New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 1209-216. Print.
Moffat, Steven. “Blink.” Doctor Who. Cardiff, June-July 2007. Television.
Raffel, Burton. T.S. Eliot. New York: Continium, 1982.
Williamson, George. A Reader’s Guide to T.S. Eliot. New York: Octagon Books, 1981.
5:00 am 3 notes
July 8 2011
Post tags: I wrote this paper on t.s. eliot burnt norton poem literature research paper paper school hard work poetry literature lit doctor who time paradox beauty love sadness meaning completion
This is the way the world ends.
THAT’S T.S. ELIOT! T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”
— T.S. Eliot