Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The pursuit of youth, of sex, of “yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes,” some pursue this their whole lives, a bachelor looking in the corners of streets and bars for a bit of youth and company. This is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, 1917. It is the song and love story of men who search for their lover in places absent of love and instead only finds lust. Those who only find lust in these lonely places eventually become old, as the speaker of the poem realizes. The only argument in this poem is that of a man much past his prime, arguing to himself whether to retire the chase; the author uses logos, ethos and pathos when arguing to himself, and you, about giving up the Darwinian chase.
The author of this poem is T.S. Eliot a modern poet who is a contemporary of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Much of his work comes from post World War I, a period which was filled with excess and disillusionment with humanity and our ability to create and control civilization. The greatest war in the history of the world up to that point had just been fought. Millions died and the World with all its sadness could do nothing more then try and fill itself with wine and lust. The poem deals partly with this matter, mostly with lust and pursuit of women to find happiness in a world full of dingy sadness.
The author addresses himself in this poem. Much similar to you looking at yourself in the mirror and speaking to yourself; asking questions and answering them. A sense of this is achieved in the first stanza when he refers to “you and I” meaning the self seen by others and the self he perceives. Yet this rhetorical self is juxtaposed next to an actual other person. Who is this other person? Well you of course, you are the face in the mirror, the audience, the comfort to the author. You are his journeymen that he asks the burning question of “Oh, Do not ask, ‘What is it?’ Let us go and make our visit.” There are two audiences to this poem the author himself and the reader, but the reader in this poem is not just a reader but a friend of the author; this is seen because you are about to embark for the evening with him. This can also be seen in the quote above for he tells you to go with and make a visit.
The audience and purpose of this poem fit together. When looking at the poem from the perspective of the author’s self the purpose is to analyze one’s life and question the pursuits one chooses to chase. “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”; sense of nostalgia is present, looking back at one’s life and to have your life’s measure be coffee spoons and not some other...