When one is emptionally empty, they are unable to love others. This is clearly shown in the societies of T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby. It is not that these people do not want to love, it is the fact that they do not know how to love. Everyone tries to achieve this love in any possible way, even if it is a sinful way. In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Prufrock states, “Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels” (6). What many, if not all, believe is love is just meaningless intercourse. Seemingly, Prufrock dreads the idea of these hook-ups and one-night stands in cheap,
sketchy hotels. According to Prufrock, these ...view middle of the document...
The people of these early 1900s society are blinded by their very own illusion, which they believe to be reality, and do not notice they are holding themselves back from being able to love one another.
This inability to love is re-represented in T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. The society is too caught up in their illusion, to even realize what is really happening. The reader sees this when Prufrock states:
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball …
If one, setting a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
This is not it, at all.” (90-98)
This ball imagery is mentioned not only in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and The Great Gatsby, but also in “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell; although, the imagery in “To His Coy Mistress” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is basically the opposite. Marvell expresses the concept of seizing the day, whereas Eliot expresses the concept of procrastination. Prufrcok, just like everyone in his society, lets time go by. All of them let the chance to love, to express themselves and to take action get away, due to their empty souls. Along with that, Prufrock is afraid that he may interpret something differently from what it is meant to be. This highlights how much fear he has to even think differently from everyone else in his society. In addition to that, he is so afraid of rejection that he is willing to let the moment go by, rather than seizing the moment and trying to love, just like Daisy. And as mentioned before, this imagery is also seen in The Great Gatsby. While Jordan Baker tells Nick the story of Tom and Daisy's wedding night, she states:
I rushed out and found her mother's maid, and we locked the door and got her into a cold bath. She wouldn't let go of the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up in a wet ball, and only let me leave it in the soap-dish when she saw that it was coming to pieces like snow” (74).
From this, the reader gathers that though Daisy loves Gatsby, she cannot wait for him any longer. She tries to cope with the reality by drinking away her pain. The letter she had received was the last physical thing she had left of Gatsby. When she noticed the letter “coming to pieces like snow” she put it away, trying to save this love for Gatsby (Fitzgerald 74). Since Daisy was careless and vulnerable during that part of her life, she was unable to see the meaning of the love her and Gatsby once shared. Due to this, she let herself go, not only making her spiritually empty, but also making it harder for her to be able to love. Though the drunk Daisy reacted like this, the sober Daisy gladly married another man. She is very
dependent on other people, as mentioned later on in the novel; Gatsby left in 1917, and by February of 1919 she was engaged to a man, and married to another by June 1919. This shows how dependent...