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Poem Analysis: A Love Song Of J. Prufrock By T.S. Eliot

1446 words - 6 pages

Insecure and aging, J. Alfred Prufrock finds regret in the life he has laid out for himself. T.S. Eliot wrote A Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, an intriguing, yet depression poem about a man living each day the same as the last. The journey Prufrock endeavors on serves to be a realization of the struggles in his life and the idea that he is getting old and time isn’t going to slow down for him. Filled with regret, he ponders on the dreams and accomplishments he didn’t achieve because of his lack of confidence and willingness to face his fears. He realizes he hasn’t gotten all that he wanted out of life and at first thinks he has enough time to change who he is, inside and out. The reoccurring theme throughout the poem is old-age and self-doubt. Prufrock main goal is to live a wealthy life and build a confident personality, which differentiates from the hopeless man, with little social skills, he is throughout the poem.
From the beginning, Prufrock had a dream and starts off describing the setting of his dream. “When the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table” (Eliot, line 2-3). He wants to escape with a woman, with a lover. He talks about wanting to be like his idol, Michelangelo, a man he thinks is perfect and has all of the women’s attention. “In the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo” (line 13-14). He wants to live a social life of wealth, but doesn’t know where to begin. He tried to enter that world he longs for, but it doesn’t turn out well. Then, he decides to go back to his closed off life, something he recognized and was used to.
Prufrock describes the yellow smoke that surrounds him and the streets. He relates to the yellow smoke because he feels like polluted mist, just standing still, while no one bothers to notice him. “For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, rubbing its back upon the window panes” (line 24-25). Prufrock makes the decision to change his life around and fix all of the problems he has. He doesn’t want to feel self-doubt and feels somewhat confident in himself. He ponders upon his idea and believes he has all the time in the world to fix his insecurities and become like Michelangelo. “There will be time, to prepare the face to meet the faces that you meet” (Line 26-27). He knows he has a lot to fix, but doesn’t realize age will catch up to him. He believes that things will work out the way he wants it to as time goes by, but procrastinates throughout his journey. He wants to become perfect before he puts himself out there and doesn’t want to try until he feels completely confident in every aspect of his life. “Before the taking of a toast and tea” (line 36). As he keeps rationalizing his plan, he starts to understand time will catch up to him and things may not turn out the way he wants them to.
The hopelessness starts to overcome him and Prufrock knows there will be time to fix his problems, but he thinks it will be too late. As he begins to fix...

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