The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems eBook


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Review3 of 5 stars to the poetry of T.S Eliot, specifically, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems In The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock , a man confronts his physical sexuality during an elite social gathering The man, J Alfred Prufrock, breathes in his surroundings and then uses them to define his own appearance as the antithesis of what he sees The man has no self esteem and therefore constantly dwells on his negative attributes and less than perfect featuresReview3 of 5 stars to the poetry of T.S Eliot, specifically, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems In The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock , a man confronts his physical sexuality during an elite social gathering The man, J Alfred Prufrock, breathes in his surroundings and then uses them to define his own appearance as the antithesis of what he sees The man has no self esteem and therefore constantly dwells on his negative attributes and less than perfect features In the poem, Prufrock recites a long monologue that is characteristic of almost every other human being T S Eliot uses Prufrock as a symbol, for humanity in general, to show how all persons are doubtful at times of their attractiveness Prufrock is a man of uncertain age Spender 31 Therefore, he can be portrayed as a teenager, a middle aged man, or a person of any other age very easily If one looks at Prufrock through the eyes of a teenager, he can easily be seen as a seventeen year old While Prufrock is like a patient etherized upon a table line 3 , teenagers roam the halls at school like puppy dogs with their mouths open, dazed and lost in space Both are in love with some beautiful woman and wander the paths practically drooling While Prufrock is busy finding time for a hundred indecisions, and a hundred visions and revision lines 32 33 , teenagers are occupied thinking of ways to approach the person they want Both seem to put facades on to make themselves sound better so that they will get the person they want to get While Prufrock is worrying with a bald spot in the middle of his hair How they will say his hair is growing thin lines 41 42 , teenagers constantly, in vain, check their own hair in the mirror to see if it is just perfect There are several similarities between young people like teenagers and Prufrock However, not only does Prufrock resemble teenagers, but he also resembles middle aged men who are hitting a mid life crisis They worry about their hair balding or becoming gray and whether they are attractive enough They go out and try to reinvent themselves as different people just as Prufrock does with his revisions, decisions, and visions Prufrock has characteristics of several different people of all ages Eliot is showing that all men women included have doubts and occasional low self esteem Whether you are 17, 37, or 57, you are capable of having no confidence occasionally This is Eliot s generalization of all men Prufrock s worries concerning his sexuality and appearance not only show his resemblance to all men, but they also stop him from continuing on with his life as a happy, caring, and normal man He is Eliot s archetype of the great refusal, the man who fears to dare and so misses life Prufrock initiates Eliot s obsession with the lost opportunity and the missed life Mayer 127 Prufrock is so busy concentrating on his less than perfect features and supposed negative attributes that he lets life pass him by I grow old I grow old I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled Line 120 121 Prufrock loses the future by concentrating on the present His inhibitions about the opposite sex hold him back Prufrock is built around the arid, timid, conventional persona of a man sexual enough to admit desire, but insufficiently sexual to do anything about it Raffel 24 In every person s life they feel like this occasionally They love someone, but they hold themselves back because of some fear, etc Eliot uses Prufrock as a symbol for all men again Prufrock is inhibited, self conscious, obsessed with image, self possessed, and afraid Fear is in the way the fear to dare, to live honestly, to tell all, to be the Fool The mermaids will not sing to Prufrock because he will not sing to anyone His love song to himself is a cry of anguish Mayer 128 129 While Prufrock sings to himself, men everywhere are busy talking outlook to the stars, the sky, and the moon about how much they wish they could get the girl they loved or behandsome,intelligent, orloved Some of these men will cry out in anguish and they will not tell anyone how they feel because of inhibitions The mermaids women therefore will not sing to him if he will not sing to them All men are afraid to tell a woman how they feel about them often in reality They will stutter and beat around the bush Besides the mermaids, there are several other minor characters who can support this theory Prufrock talks about Prince Hamlet, Lazarus, the Footman, and an attendant lord He has characteristics of all these men He attends to others and never pleases himself like the attendant lord Hamlet embodies Prufrock s aspirations to live that is, to be or not to be Mayer 117 All men have asked themselves that question Should I do it or shouldn t I Referring to asking someone out All of these people have traits in common with Prufrock, over with every other man Once again, Prufrock is shown to be a symbol for all men In the middle of the poem, Prufrock talks of other men and the effect of the yellow smoke that curled around the windows And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes of lonely men in shirt sleeves, leaning out of windows lines 71 72 Prufrock obviously identifies with the lonely men despite their shirt sleeves , and perhaps sees their leaning out of the windows as symbolic of his own desire for contact with the world Spurr 7 Since Prufrock identifies with the lonely men, therefore, that is proof that others have felt this way Prufrock, like all others often in their lives, back away from pursuing love from a paralyzing fear that results in the ultimate loss of the object he desires Prufrock watches his possible moment of greatness flicker because of his anxiety over his looks Spurr 56 All men seem to follow in his footsteps If one looks at a few words specifically in the poem, like let us go then, you and I line 1 , one can see why Prufrock really is a symbol for all men in general The you and I of the first line present greater difficulties Critics have commonly interpreted them as referring to two parts of Prufrock, carrying on a conversation with himself Headings 24 Many times Prufrock seems to be having a conversation with someone else, perhaps another man, or even his object of love However, the poem is really one long monologue Prufrock is speaking to himself Men in reality will often do the same when trying to make a decision They will ask themselves whether they really love the woman, or want to marry her, or want to kiss her, etc Talking to oneself is a common practice to make a decision J Alfred Prufrock is a man who is in love with a certain woman, but he is somehow held back from approaching her He feels unworthy of her, he feels unattractive, and for some reason he is sexually inhibited At one time in their life, whether it be as a teenager, a middle aged man, or an older person, men have felt like Prufrock They have doubts, fears, and inhibitions Prufrock is truly a symbol for all of humanity in generalAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators It was a required reading at literature seminar I like poetry in general, and I enjoyed many of these poems. Question Why oh why do they make children read Prufrock in school How can a kid, having run in from recess with pink perfect cheeks and years to go before hairs start sprouting out of weird places, have any idea what T.S Eliot is talking about How can someone who thinks 21 year olds are ancient, possibly get Prufrock I remember being asked to read this poem in fourth grade, and it is touching in an odd way to think back on the scene in the classroom my 40 ish, balding teacher, bent almost Question Why oh why do they make children read Prufrock in school How can a kid, having run in from recess with pink perfect cheeks and years to go before hairs start sprouting out of weird places, have any idea what T.S Eliot is talking about How can someone who thinks 21 year olds are ancient, possibly get Prufrock I remember being asked to read this poem in fourth grade, and it is touching in an odd way to think back on the scene in the classroom my 40 ish, balding teacher, bent almost double over his desk with his passion for this poem, begging, pleading with us callow, bright eyed children, to get it his desk might as well have been the Great Wall of China We just stared and blinked our big anime eyes and thought he was a crazy old fart Time didn t touch us yet Like all kids, we thought it never would, that we had been spared by dint of our superiority Poor Mr Bull he must have gone home, shaved his bunions and wept into his tea.Years and years later, I took a class at San Francisco City College, which focused on three readings Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock I had not re read Prufrock since that 4th grade incident Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was inculcated in the theory that if a poem scans, rhymes, tells a cohesive story, or otherwise makes sense, it sucks Ginsberg, Snyder, Diane DePrima, and anyone who wrote stream of consciousness, explosive, expressive id based barbaric yawps good Shakespeare, St Vincent Millay, Eliot, and essentially anyone whose work appeared in the reviled, rejected, Lackeys of the Imperialist Bourgeoisie classical canon bad At 11, I read it and couldn t believe how stupid it was What the hell was this guy Eliot even talking about I liked mermaids and peaches, but the rest of the poem might as well have been in a dead language At 30, I read it and every line sank into my soul and shook me I had spent enough time on earth to feel the first stirrings of fear of mortality I wasn t in my twenties any and I thought, this is the best damn poem I have ever read Maybe you have to get a bit older before this poem resonates with you maybe you have to have felt the first stirrings of existential despair and the chill of mortality Probably you have to have heard the eternal footman hold your coat, and snicker, and in short, be afraid There are so many parts of Prufrock that I love that sum up the so called human condition so perfectly Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherised upon a table I have measured out my life in coffee spoons Do I dare to eat a peach I grow old, I grow old..I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas And finally I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.I do not think that they will sing to me.I have seen them riding seaward on the wavesCombing the white hair of the waves blown backWhen the wind blows the water white and black.We have lingered in the chambers of the seaBy sea girls wreathed with seaweed red and brownTill human voices wake us, and we drown The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is an examination of the tortured ego of the modern man overeducated, eloquent, neurotic, pompous and disturbed, who s ironically tortured due to his overwhelming brilliance The main character, not someone of fame and wealth but rather an unacknowledged poet, sees the world as spiritually exhausted and a wasteland Humans are incapable of communicating with one another because their psychological state is too fragile and afraid of change He notices all the The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is an examination of the tortured ego of the modern man overeducated, eloquent, neurotic, pompous and disturbed, who s ironically tortured due to his overwhelming brilliance The main character, not someone of fame and wealth but rather an unacknowledged poet, sees the world as spiritually exhausted and a wasteland Humans are incapable of communicating with one another because their psychological state is too fragile and afraid of change He notices all these things by observing people and nature, and yet is unable to do anything to change any of it because he is etherized like a patient by his own fear of rejection, change and indecisiveness While a part of him would like to shake them up and wake them from their cookie cutter, meaningless lives, another part of him knows to accomplish this change he would have to disturb the universe and change is hard All this realization and character development given to us by T.S Eliot through Prufrock s eyes is from simple observation and figurative language This work is a perfect example of just how T.S Eliot mastered figurative language Do I dare disturb the universe view spoiler Anxiety, worries, and fears rendering you unable to act on your thoughts Not knowing what to expect from the future besides the foreseeable outcome of thinning hair and growing old The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock portrays these common concerns with eloquence There are many lines throughout the piece that I have thought over The third line states, Like a patient etherized upon a table I think that Eliot uses this image as a foreshadowing Do I dare disturb the universe view spoiler Anxiety, worries, and fears rendering you unable to act on your thoughts Not knowing what to expect from the future besides the foreseeable outcome of thinning hair and growing old The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock portrays these common concerns with eloquence There are many lines throughout the piece that I have thought over The third line states, Like a patient etherized upon a table I think that Eliot uses this image as a foreshadowing of Prufrock s inability to act, a numbing feeling which leads him to be incapable of entering the house full of women conversing about Michelangelo Eliot also writes about a fog The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes, The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window panes I can t help but notice that this fog takes on animal like qualities This description soundslike a cat to me than a yellow fog Is Prufrock the cat Why doesn t he enter the house Is he afraid of the women or nervous to speak to them Prufrock questions himself incessantly with the question Do I dare He asks this on a couple different occasions Do I dare Disturb the universe and Do I dare eat a peach The latter question is interesting I found that a peach is a Chinese symbol for marriage and immortality Is Prufrock afraid of these things although he actually desires them In fact, there are many questions throughout the entire piece Prufrock seems indecisive and confused Also, the fog cat at the beginning of the piece never enters the house This further strengthens the theme of indecisiveness He worries about growing older and how this will affect his outer appearance His hair is thinning along with his arms and legs He says, I grow old I grow old I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled Apparently, rolling up the bottoms of one s pants is an attempt to ward off death This hints back to the previous point I made about Prufrock wanting immortality His concerns about getting older show that he knows his desire is impossible Overall, my thoughts about this piece is that Prufrock has been bothered his whole life with his indecisiveness and his lack of taking action He goes back and forth questioning himself about if he is daring enough to do the things he wishes voice his opinion to the world, get married, live a full life immortality , etc His fear paralyzes him and he s growing older He is trying to hesitantly figure out what to do before it is too late hide spoiler The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is the most beautiful poem I have ever read I m not a big poetry connoisseur, so feel free to disagree I would eat this poem if I could Or marry it I would hold the hair of this poem while it puked, if it were the type of poem to drink heavily to the point of wretching, but it s not This poem is far too good for those sort of shennanigans Instead, it partakes of tea and cakes and ices and lingers in dooryards and ponders the beauty and futility of life, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is the most beautiful poem I have ever read I m not a big poetry connoisseur, so feel free to disagree I would eat this poem if I could Or marry it I would hold the hair of this poem while it puked, if it were the type of poem to drink heavily to the point of wretching, but it s not This poem is far too good for those sort of shennanigans Instead, it partakes of tea and cakes and ices and lingers in dooryards and ponders the beauty and futility of life, which is why I love it so I don t know about the rest of the poems in this book because Prufrock is so brilliant it burned all the rest of the pages of this book with its white hot awesomeness Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table Let us go, through certain half deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one night cheap hotels My copy of this book I stole from my high school library.In my freshman poetry class, we were told to memorize a poem of at least 10 lines I told my teacher that this was a pointless assignment and that rote memorization doesn t teach anything, but honestly I was just lazy and hated the idea of memorizing anything.Then I stumbled upon The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock It took me one night morning to memorize the 132 lines. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is a masterpiece but, as a whole book of poems, it just functions like a pop album, meaning that there are two very good poems or hits Rhapsody on a Windy Night is also brilliant and the rest feel like fillers which Eliot knew, for they are clearly jokes Let us go instead of Let s go same goes for do not ask and maybe other cases seems like a poetic inaccuracy to me it would be great to have Ezra Pound s opinion on this aren t all his correcti The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is a masterpiece but, as a whole book of poems, it just functions like a pop album, meaning that there are two very good poems or hits Rhapsody on a Windy Night is also brilliant and the rest feel like fillers which Eliot knew, for they are clearly jokes Let us go instead of Let s go same goes for do not ask and maybe other cases seems like a poetic inaccuracy to me it would be great to have Ezra Pound s opinion on this aren t all his corrections of The Waste Land fantastic Pound was as knowledgable as gifted he had a poetic 6th sense which Eliot would have given an arm for having , for Eliot wanted to sound modern, casual, etc.If you like The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, T.S Eliot and or poetry enough, you should know whom this poem comes from Jules Laforgue.Eliot was close to not overcome the anxiety of his influence, stating that I was hypnotized by the music of his verse.Prufrock, published in 1917, was immediately hailed as a new manner in English literature and belittled as an echo of Laforgue and the French symbolists to whom Eliot was highly and clearly indebted.T S Eliot said that he traced his beginnings as a poet to two influences, the later Elizabethans and the poems of Laforgue He said that Laforgue spoke to his generationintimately than Baudelaire seemed to do, and he ranked Laforgue with Donne and Baudelaire as the inventor of an attitude, a system of feeling or of morals Some of Eliot s early poems, notably Portrait of a Lady and The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, are modeled on Laforgue s complaints Catching up with the classics 173.5 stars


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About the Author: T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present day poetry He wrote the poems The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party and the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent Eliot was born an American, moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 at the age of 25 , and became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39.See also


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