The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock By T.S. Eliot

1172 words - 5 pages

Passive Lovers

T. S. Eliot was the dominant force in twentieth-century British and American poetry. With poems such as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, he introduced an edgy, disenchanted, utterly contemporary version of French Symbolism to the English-speaking world. Most poets recognize that in producing a sensational poetic work, many concerns arise with the use of various literary tools to convey ideas, opinions or simply an observation. Through vivid imagery and metaphors, TS Elliot in his “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” delivered readers the thoughts and emotions of a tormented character J. Alfred Prufrock and also reflected self-debasing nature of a passive lover’s effort that kept deteriorating till it finds hellish discomfort in isolation.

As a poet explicates an event in poetry, he does his best to capture the audience, to entertain the reader. The reader must be drawn into the situations of the event and be able to form opinions as he/she goes along. The author wishes to bring to mind certain emotions from the reader, certain feelings and understandings from the characters of the story. Elliot’s sensational poetic work “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” embraces that idea and provides information by symbolic representation, and also enlightens the audience with experiences that fails to reach them

And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all--
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Elliot throughout the poem addresses the longing for companionship Prufrock seeks as he engages with the women of the society. The passive behavior in young middle aged men still exists today but Elliot‘s poem re-presents it in a way that is still refreshing and re-enforcing to the modern reader. In the first line of the above stanza his persona represents not him but his observation of what inner psychological conflicts middle aged Prufrock goes through when he becomes incapable of wooing a lady because of the insecurities he feels at rejection and not meeting the standards of great personalities such as “Michelangelo” . Individual are unique in their ways and potential to realize one’s self-worth is not through comparison and self-denigration but valuing existing inherent qualities and stepping up to present yourself to others. Prufrock indicates that he is familiar with people who size him up and judge him against some standards that clearly do not correspond with what he considers himself to be, a devalued counterpart....

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