Jewel Spears Brooker: On "Gerontion" The psychological coherence of the first verse paragraph, instrumental in clarifying both the main structural principle of superimposed contexts and the main image of the house within the house, is abandoned as Eliot moves to his second stanza. The tenuous psychological connections that critics have pointed to as transitions between these two stanzas are inventions, not discoveries. They are fabrications compelled by a desire for order. The fact is that the second stanza "follows" the first only in its arrangement on the page; logically and psychologically, the second does not follow at all. It does not properly begin, and it does not end; it simply starts, and then, without a period or even a comma, in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a line, it stops.
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However, he had his roots in Old and New England. T S Eliot first began to write poetry when he was He first published his poem in while still in school. T S Eliot went on to become an essayist, a playwright and literary and social critic. A huge contributor to modernism, Eliot died at the age of 76, in of emphysema.
The poem is considered to be the preface of a long and one of the most important poems of 20th century, The Waste Land written by the same poet.
However, T S Eliot himself decided it as an independent one. It is there that the old man who is the speaker of this poem resides with other tenants of the house.
We get an idea that the poem contains an old person and his thoughts. Alliteration: There are many alliterations throughout the poem. Repetition: There are a few repetitions in the poem. A tree cannot do that. This is a prime example of personification. Allusion: There is an allusion to World War I in the first paragraph of the poem when the old man laments of not taking part in the war.
Imagery: Vivid imagery is used throughout the poem. In the first paragraph, we get the things soldiers do when fighting in a war, we know the exact location of the house the old man is in and the surrounding areas of the house, we see spiders, bears and nervous and fidgeting people. These are all the results of imagery. Style of Gerontion: The poem has neither rhyme nor rhythm. It does not even contain stanzas. It is in a pure free verse form. He misses fighting in the war, and laments his presence in the mundane and common-place house.
He speaks of the depravity of humanity in the then world. Lured by modernism, they covered the truth with darkness, taking only some of it with them and interpreting it as they wish.
He says that all sinners have divine judgement coming for them. And he was going to receive it too for he was removed from near the heart of Him. He was removed not because of his sins but because of his loss of passion. He discarded passion of his own will rather than seeing it get corrupted.
He speaks of the humans running around mechanically, their brain working while their hearts have cooled down. And he has no part in these workings, in these changes of modernism and so he has been driven into a sleepy corner, untouched by the world. The speaker, the old man, the gerontion, gives his opinions and impressions of the modern world and laments the direction which it was taking. In those three lines, T S Eliot conveys that this poem will contain person s who are neither young nor of age, implying that they cannot work.
In short, an old person. True to the foreshadowing, the poem starts with an old man being read to by a boy. As we continue forward, we find that these phrases are not literal. They allude to something much more significant and important. The old man then laments of his age, of how he could not participate in the war. There is no explicit mention of a war here, but it is implied by the time the poem was written; is just an year after the World War I ended.
So, we can assume that the old man regretted not participating in this war. He goes on to say, instead of being in the warm rain, swaddling through marshes to fight the enemy, he was in a decayed house. The decayed house can literally refer to the house he was currently in or it can also be a metaphor for his own state; a body which was past its prime. He goes on to describe the mundane household he was in. He describes the owner, a Jew, he describes the landscape and the woman who keeps the house.
They are all portrayed as regular and common. This, in contrast with the hotly described battlefield experiences only enhances the condition the old man is currently in. By this he means that in this world, where everything was changing too much and too fast, he was remaining the same, dull.
But does he regret this? It is answered in the following paragraphs. The old man then speaks of signs. This exudes religious characteristics. Signs are often used in religions to convey a path, truth or decision.
The old man speaks of signs here and says that while trying to find the deeper meaning of a sign, nothing is gained and everything is lost. He says the signs are swaddled with darkness; but not really. Humans are the ones covering them in darkness and hence seeing and interpreting only a part of it at a time; and hence losing the main meaning. He ends this paragraph by saying in the young year, came Christ the Tiger. Christ is loving, but here, the old man means to say, looking at the actions of the humans, that Christ is now judgemental.
In this paragraph, the old man continues to speak of the fallen state of humans. There are references to World War I in this paragraph too in the form of names. The war is but a big stage to showcasing the depths to which humans fell. And it is of this that the old man speaks. The gerontion then speaks of history.
He describes it as cunning, contrived and deceiving. It guides the humans by their vanities. He goes on to speak of how whatever the history gives are usually in vain or in disdain. He says heroism fathers unnatural vices. He says crimes are the cause of virtues. This all goes to further showcase the depravity of the humans. The heroism and crimes the old man speaks of are the ones that were done in the war and in general.
The old man says that judgement will come. The tiger is a reference to the Christ. But when he meets Him, he would say that he was removed from near His heart, because he lost passion. The reason he says is because whatever is there must be adulterated in this world. The old man does not like this and so says, that he would rather lose them than corrupt them.
By this he speaks of the human world, now corrupt, working mechanically, using their minds and not their hearts, and hence, as a result lost contact with Him. The old man then speaks of how mechanical this world has become; how even without passion people continue to work.
He speaks of the spider, the weevil and of nature forces who go on to do the same thing over and over again without interest, without passion, without heart. They have lost their path. And all this while, the old man is driven to a sleepy corner, excluded from the workings of the world.
It is show the depravity of humans, the impassionate pace at which they were going and the path that they lost captured by but a part of the truth. It is hopeless. The old man laments his age, his inaction and the direction the humans are going. He has no hope for them nor for himself. This tone is maintained throughout the poem. Conclusion T S Eliot draws a brutally honest and depressing picture of the world after the war when the humans were captured by modernism through this poem.
Contributor: Uttej Reddy.
Gerontion by T.S. Eliot
Eliot — Gerontion Poem Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both. Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain. I was neither at the hot gates Nor fought in the warm rain Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass, Bitten by flies, fought. My house is a decayed house, And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner, Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp, Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London. The goat coughs at night in the field overhead; Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds. The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea, Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter. I an old man, A dull head among windy spaces.
T. S. Eliot - Gerontion Poem
Edit Eliot was working on the poem after the end of World War One when Europe was undergoing changes as old systems of government and international relations were being replaced. During that time, Eliot was working at Lloyds Bank , editing The Egoist , and trying to publish poetry. Eliot had published in Ara Vos Prec, a limited printed work that collected his early poems including Gerontion. In the typescript, the name of the poem is "Gerousia", referring to the name of the Council of the Elders at Sparta. When Eliot considered publishing the poem as the opening part of The Waste Land , Pound discouraged him from doing so saying, "I do not advise printing Gerontion as preface. This is forgivable, since poetry is not, or should not be, answerable to pedantry.
However, he had his roots in Old and New England. T S Eliot first began to write poetry when he was He first published his poem in while still in school. T S Eliot went on to become an essayist, a playwright and literary and social critic.
Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both. Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain. I was neither at the hot gates Nor fought in the warm rain Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass, Bitten by flies, fought. My house is a decayed house, And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner, Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp, Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.