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Brief Literary Analysis - Essay Example

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Professor English The Modern Persona in Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Modernism refers to using the modern mind in character, thought and activities. It is not easy to define modernism briefly because of its loose ends and inconsistency…
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Brief Literary Analysis

Download file to see previous pages... This period is characterized by immense disillusionment and erosion of conviction not only in religion but also in numerous secular precepts. T.S Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was composed during this time (Eliot 15). The poem is modernist in its theme, character and activities. Irresistible obsession with the self, temperament of consciousness and the progression of discernment characterize modernism. This essay aims to analyze how the poem argues about modernity and modernism, with respect to how the modern mind thinks. From the poem’s setting, layout, structure, and voice of the persona, it is clear that the persona is a sad and insecure modern man who tries to explain what happens and does not happen in his life (Trites 50). The essay uses the structure of the poem and the voice of the persona in combination with the words of the writer to identify how the theme of the poem relates to modernity. In the contemporary world, time is a precious phenomenon. People are particularly conscious about time to the extent that they do not want to waste a minute. Time regulates every activity of the modern people (Brooker 107). In his poem, Eliot shows how J. Alfred Prufrock is too time-conscious. The persona allocates time for every activity (Eliot 24). He allocates time to make up for meeting and time to murder and create. He sees time as an instrument to correct mistakes and wonders if he can dare the time: “Do I dare” (Eliot 16). The persona also talks about time for making decisions, visions and revisions before having tea and toast, just like in the modern world, where people tend to relax (have tea) after work. He also talks about how the modern people rush to work in their coats and back home in the evening, showing how they value time. From Eliot’s poem, it is clear that the modern people are obsessed with attracting attention. The modern people always want to look good, elegant, beautiful, and handsome (Brooker 111). They spend time and money to bring order to them. In whatever they say, do or put on, modern people always want to look smart. Eliot’s poem produces a picture of attention seekers who spend time to make up, “time to prepare a face to meet faces that you meet” (Eliot 16) so that they can meet some people. As he proceeds, the persona dedicates time to someone (probably his lover) and himself. Prufrock also narrates how he is not comfortable with the baldness and his thin arms. He also describes the clothes people wear and the types of colors of people and their hair color. This only shows how he is concerned with appearance and attention, which is a common feature of modern people. Though love existed before modernity, it forms a strong element of the modern person. Modern people show love in all manners both expressed and implied. It exists among both the youth and adults with all its features, such as heartbreak, passion, tolerance and silence. As the persona in Eliot’s poem speaks, it is hard to tell, whether he loves the person his words refer to (Trites 54). The title itself is about love: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. Prufrock is drowned in love but is unable to speak his mind out, just like most of the modern teenagers or workmates, who fear rejection or are just shy to speak out their minds. At a point, Prufrock tries to overcome the fear when he asks himself, “Do I dare?” but is unable to speak out. In every society, there exist certain individuals who ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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