Dear CR: I find a lot of merit in your theory of the subject/object dichotomy being an inner state of the narrator. Eliot himself used the term "dissociation," albeit in a somewhat different context of the author's relationship to his work. However, dissociation is the psychiatric term for elements of the personality that are not integrated into a sense of self -- disowned impulses as it were.

I would speculate further that Eliot's narrators, if not the poet himself, suffered from such a plethora of dissociated impulses that the self as an entity becomes questionable. Obviously some integration of personality is present or the narrator or poet himself would have been psychotic, which both are obviously not. But perhaps it was lacking to a degree that prompted a philosophical meditation on the nature of the self sufficient to make it a theme of the poems.

Certainly unacceptable impulses are a subject. They require burning and turning from. At the point when the narrator says "because I do not hope to turn again" ascetism seems to have done as much as it can in managing them.

Nancy recommended a book on Eliot and nightmares, which are simply disowned impulses that threaten to break through into consciousness. I have ordered it but it has not yet arrived. To be continued! Diana 

From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Subject/Object Dichotomy in Eliot's Protagonists
Date:  Tue, 12 Sep 2006 20:34:47 -0700

This is just exploratory -- I wonder if it makes
any sense.
In 'East Coker' Eliot talks of a person's two selves --
one that is imperfect but aspiring ("to get from where
you are not") toward a state of perfection ("to arrive
where you are"):
                                    In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are
    You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
    You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
    You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
    You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
(emphasis mine)
Earlier, in The Waste Land, Eliot hints at the
moment of disillusion when one becomes
conscious of one's imperfect state:
Only at nightfall, aethereal rumours
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
In Ash-Wednesday the protagonist is
conscious of his unworthiness and
visualizes his earthly self undergoing
Presumably, Eliot's Prufrock speaks of his two
selves -- the "you" and "I" -- one of whom seems
to be his "real" self, the enlightened one who
guides and admonishes him -- the other one is
painfully aware of his inadequacies.
Is it possible to study Eliot's poetry as an expression
of this dichotomy between his central character's
If it's viable, it might throw some light on the
subject/object dichotomy of the speaker in
Preludes -- the subject observing things
and passing comments -- the object
is part of the scene, clasping the yellow soles
of feet in the palms of both soiled hands.  
~ CR

Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:  
By "resolution of the subject/object dichotomy"
I mean consciousness of the illusory nature
of self
as a separate entity. Tat Tvam Asi. I see this as a possible theme in Eliot's poetry. Diana

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