Till Human Voices Wake Us:and We Drown
Analysis of T.S. Eliot's Poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Till Human Voices Wake Us
T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” embodies many of the different feelings of American's during the Modernist movement. Prufrock was seen as the prototype of the modern man, it is through his character in this poem that T.S. Eliot shows how man felt insecure, how the new theories of psychology were changing the concept of the mind and how society was becoming more doubtful and indecisive and less of an action taking people. The film Till Human Voices Wake Us, uses Eliot's poem as a base to showcase these ideas and to show how dreams and the past can help shape a man. .
Prufrock is constantly thinking about what he looks like and how others perceive him. He states “Time to turn back and descend the stair,/With a bald spot in the middle of my hair-/ [They will say: 'how his hair is growing thin!']”(39-41) This shows how concerned his is with the way others view him. He points out an area of himself he is clearly not happy with. This insecurity can come from the fact that he is alone. The main character in the film, Sam, is also insecure. He never voices his insecurites through dialogue but through his body language. He is constantly alienating himslef. He doesn't talk to people when he arrives at his old house, and he stands to the side, alone, at his father's funeral. This shows that he is not happy, and is not secure with who he has become. Later on he tells Ruby that he has regrets but he can't do anything about it now. He is just accepting his inadequacy. Eliot shows how Prufrock's insecurities can be tide to isolation as loneliness is shown later on in the poem, “Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets/ And watched the smoke that rises for the pipes/ Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?” He is first of showing that he is walking through these streets alone. He says I instead of we or mentioning he walked with someone. He is also showing that he is not the only lonely man in the city. There are lonely men, more than one, hanging out of windows, as if they are waiting for someone to come by, someone to spend time with, someone to share their own insecurities with. This idea of loneliness is similar in the movie, Ruby shows up also alone. She doesn't know where she belongs, and has no one in her life. Both Ruby and Sam are forced to interact with one another and face their loneliness.
Prufrock's insecurities showcased as he doubts what he is capable of. In lines 81 through 86 he again says I, showing it was him alone, and he talks about how his bald head is brought on a platter. Eliot, who loved to reference the past, is alluding to the story of John the Baptist's beheading. Prufrock goes on to say, “I am no prophet- and here's no great matter;”(83) He is implying that he is not as important, and his moment of greatness is just a “flicker”(84) ...