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Urban Alientation Essay

1349 words - 6 pages

How have three of the texts you have studied provided insight into the individual's relationships to the urban landscape?The three texts; T.S Eliot's The Preludes poem, Jennifer Strauss' Migrant Woman on a Melbourne Tram poem and the short story The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury, provide an insight into each individual's relationship with the urban landscape through the underlying motif of urban alienation. The writers explore the alienating effect of city life as people are forced to suppress and hide their individual identity by conforming to societal expectations, as well as the idea of examining the universal nature of human despair and isolation through their depiction of a soulless, ...view middle of the document...

In Preludes three and four look at false pretences. Eliot uses the repetition of the conjunction 'and' to further emphasise the drabness of routine and the endless cycle of existence. There is a sense of prediction and pace through the times 'four and five and six o' clock' as if trapped in this mechanical routine. People are in the deceitful comfort of 'certain certainties' contained in monotonous activities like 'fingers of stuffing pipes'. It ends with a sense of emptiness and a sense of searching. The Preludes addresses the need to break the "chains" or cycle of a personal fixation within the isolation as well as frustration of city life in order to create a stronger relationship with the urban environment.Similarly, "The Pedestrian" explores alienating effects of city life as people are forced to supress and hide their individual identity by conforming to societal expectations, where the individual lacks feeling of belonging and connectivity. "The Pedestrian" is set AD 2053 in the dystopian future. Leonard Mean is the individual who's is at odds with his society as he who recognises the world as soulless and. His world has no divine order and is a futile, anarchic place - where the protagonists name is also very average and ordinary. There is a recurring motif of the dead. People are metaphorically described as deadened and zombie-like or associated with the negative connotation of 'grey phantoms' living in a monotonous and emotionless world. People are trapped and locked inside 'tomb-like buildings' or chambers. Throughout the night, there is a sense of prediction and monotony attached with urban living as Leonard goes about his routine he says 'What's up tonight on Channel 4, Channel 7 and Channel 9?' Due to advances in technology, the city dwellers' ability to think for themselves is lost as they become brainwashed and confined to their living rooms watching television, into a dehumanised state. The onomatopoeia and emotive terms 'whispering…murmurs' are both associated with spying or secrets. This suggests Leonard is not conforming to the laws of his society. The harshness and sterility of the robot's 'metallic' voice idiotically repeats the questions directed to Leonard, asking 'walking where? For what?' as well the inability to understand his 'profession' shows an emotionless and artificial world taken over by ever developing technology. This is juxtaposed between Leonard's warmth and humour where he replies with a smile 'nobody wanted me'. Similarly with T.S Eliot's The Preludes, in The Pedestrian there are feelings of isolation and being misunderstood by the changing urban society where the world is desolating in cultural and individual identity through the suppressive and conformity.Following the concept of the individual being...

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