“Writers of the Modern period struggled to come to terms with the changing nature of their world”
----- quote about changing nature of the modern world-----The Modern period was a time when the traditional customs and hierarchies of the world became less entrenched and society as a whole evolved and changed. The First World War precipitated social change and unrest which was reflected in the writings of Modernist authors such as Virginia Woolf and William Butler Yeats. Authors of the modernist period adopted a variety of views to the changing nature of their world, some, like Woolf, embraced the breakdown of traditional values and wrote extensively about the positive effects of this trend continuing, as can be seen in “A Room of One’s Own” while others, such as Yeats, rejected the change and chose to depict the potential for disaster inherent in the changing societal system, as depicted in “The Second Coming”. Yeats’ depiction of the changing world in “The Second Coming” shows the difficulty he had accepting the breakdown of traditional values and practises. The lessening of religious influence, precipitated by the First World War and destruction that it caused, was a source of great grief to Yeats and this is expressed in this poem through the extended metaphor of the “falcon” and “falconer” who’s estrangement and disconnection mean “mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. The paradoxical use of the word “mere” to diminish the anarchy communicates the contempt Yeats felt for a world without religion or traditional order while the repetition of “loosed” communicates the idea that anarchy has been kept at bay for “twenty centuries” only through the control of the falconer. The use of “ceremony” contrasts heavily with “anarchy” and highlights the inherent differences Yeats saw between the old world and the post-WWI era. Yeats’ contempt and belief that the old world is vastly superior to the new world, with its lack of “ceremony” which meant “things fall apart” can be seen through depiction of the two eras. He is waiting for a “revelation”, an idea associated with the revelations of the Bible. He is almost begging for it, as shown by the repetition of “surely” and thus we see that he is not pleased with the change, he is not even content with it, but is asking for guidance. Thus it can be seen that not only did Yeats struggle with the change on an intellectual level, but was deeply “troubled” on a spiritual and emotional level. His emotional disturbance can be seen through the use of “my”; Yeats is a character in this poem, his distress is tangible and thus “The Second Coming” is not just an indictment of society, but a record of Yeats’ personal struggle with the decline of the Church.
In the second half of the poem. summoned by the disconnection between the Church and the people and by changes in technology. it was “out of the question. the deep fear felt by Yeats of the future is shown in his personification of “the Second Coming” as a monstrous. She also bedevils the Church and the notion of “chastity” in limiting the opportunities available to women. uneducated. of “a room of one’s own” is becoming more available to women through the progression of society. The metaphor of the creature having a “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun” discusses the advent of technology and the lowered importance of human labour and contact in favour of efficient mechanised labour and communicates Yeats’ negative view of these. unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble. On the contrary. She says that “it is unthinkable that any woman born in Shakespeare’s day should have Shakespeare’s genius” as they were “labouring. sphinx-like creature which “slouches” toward “Bethlehem”. Even the intrinsic idea. led to a greater independence of women which is what Woolf sees as so intrinsically important to the idea of being able to be “incandescent”. in that it “wrapped itself round with nerves and instincts” and thus communicates the idea that Woolf is very much in favour of the breakdown of the Church’s authority over the ideas and morals of society. Thus it can be seen that Woolf uses a stream of consciousness style to depict the changing nature of the world as a positive change as it includes the breakdown of ideas which have traditional restricted the opportunities of women and have led to a greater opportunity for their emancipation and realization as equal and fully-functioning member of the literary world. but that of the anti-Christ. and specifically for female authors. societal places and other unrest precipitated during the Modern period.Yeats feared the potential for disaster that he saw as inherent in the changes during the modern period. and her potential fate as a genius who committed suicide as her attempts to express her gift were met with scorn and disdain she shows the progression of the plight of women. Through the examination of the hypothetical sister of Shakespeare. The “hour” of the “rough beast” is at hand and Yeats’ dire depiction of this “shape” communicates his real fear of what the changing nature of the world would usher in. which forced women to participate in public life and thus gave them a taste of what they were being held away from. “the Second Coming” that Yeats envisions is not that of a saviour. servile”. Woolf examines how the changing world has led to an increase in opportunity for women in general. He viewed the world as one of cycles or “gyres” in which the decline one regime occurred simultaneously with the rise of another.
. even up to the beginning of the nineteenth century” but the changes wrought in society after the First World War. This evocative metaphor acts as a symbol for the pervasive evil which Yeats sees as infecting his society and is sinister and menacing.