The Sociable Function Of Poetry British Literature Essay

Eliot in his critical article "The Community Function of Poetry" aspires to identify the function of poetry in a culture. He says that the word 'function' identifies 'what a thing ought to do somewhat than what it does or has done'. He, before discussing what poetry must do, traces its role from traditional societies till particular date. Poetry has always experienced a 'deliberate, conscious social purpose' (p. 16). In primitive age range it turned out used in spiritual rituals for marvelous purposes in form of runes and chants. Greeks also developed their drama out of spiritual rites. Likewise, in modern times the didactic poetry surfaced that engaged satire and again experienced the goal of interpersonal purification through moral education. The poetry of nineteenth century, say for example a lot of Shelly's work, was encouraged by public and political reforms.

After dealing with the interpersonal role of poetry in general, Eliot moves on to its particular function that areas what it ought to do in culture. The foremost cultural function of poetry is that it 'has to provide pleasure': ( i ) pleasure of entertainment and (ii) pleasure of value. Engaging pleasure implies mirth and leisure, while the pleasure of value shows information and learning. As some individuals believe that a specific social, moral, spiritual or political purpose in poetry restricts reader's creativeness, Eliot contains that poetry always brings more to the reader's understanding of the topic and sharpens his/her thinking power for that one area. "There's always the communication of some new experience, or some fresh knowledge of the familiar, or the manifestation of something we have experienced but have no words for, which enlarges our awareness or refines our sensibility" (p. 18).

"The impulse into the literary use of the dialects of the individuals commenced with poetry" (p. 19). Eliot state governments that poetry must be written in our own language because 'it has primarily regarding feeling and emotion; and that feeling and sentiment are particular, whereas thought is general. ' In other words, an alien words can exhibit one's thought but cannot task the level of his original thoughts and emotions. 'To feel in a fresh terms' says Eliot is way not the same as 'expressing' the sensation in that words. Thus, at a interpersonal level, poetry written in its people's own terminology expresses their deepest thoughts revealing their personalities and collective consciousness and delivering a unified perspective of a wholesome society.

Moving from poetry to poet, Eliot state governments that a poet's sociable function is to use his own vocabulary in expressing his people's feelings and emotions because 'his direct responsibility is to his words, first to preserve and second to extend and improve' and indirect work then is to his people. A poet is a guy of remarkable intellect and observation using a command over human nature which allows him to versify his people's feelings in poetry. This manifestation of emotions enriches the vocabulary and will keep it alive forever.

It is not only the duty of the poet to maintain language but of each responsible citizen of a particular society. We cannot stop writing poetry because 'our sensibility is constantly changing, as the earth about us changes'. This constant change in population takes a development in language that is achieved through books in its purest form. "But most people don't realize" says Eliot "that unless each goes on producing great authors, and especially great poets, their terms will deteriorate; their culture will deteriorate and perhaps become utilized in a better one" (p. 21). It really is thus the responsibility of an poet and every resident to write poetry in their own terms to be able to enrich it by which makes it more interpersonal and interactive.

Another important public function of poetry, regarding to Eliot, is the fact it ought to have a widespread appeal. In other words, poetry should not be confined to a specific time or get older. "It concerns little whether a poet acquired a sizable audience in his own time. What matters is the fact that there should be at least a little audience for him in every era" (p 21). Universality in poetry produces a distinct influence on the future poets that makes them stay linked with days gone by and hence keep it alive permanently, as Eliot says "It is, furthermore, through the living authors that the lifeless remain alive" (p. 21-22).

Conclusively, T. S. Eliot is convinced that poetry in its function to preserve language and influence people at a widespread level is a interpersonal sensation. Its contribution to the improvement of terms impacts the people's communication in a culture and polishes their creative sensibilities. In a full time income and healthy population where there is 'a continuous reciprocal affect and connections' of every upon the other, poetry influences them also who do not read it. And this is exactly what Eliot means by the social function of poetry in its largest sense, "that it can, compared to its excellence and vigour, affect the speech and the sensibility of the complete region" (p. 22)






Mahrukh Baig

B. A. Sem VIII

English Literature


Miss. Amna Shaukat

Deptt. of English

DATED: Apr 16' 2008

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