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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock - Essay Example

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He was part of the modernist movement in literature which began in the years around the turn of the century. It was a time of reaction…
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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
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Download file to see previous pages Elliot has used his poetic skill to create a complex character study. He also creates an image of the period with ladies in long skirts; tea rooms; smoke from chimneys; smoggy evenings; a man in a morning suit with a high collar cutting into his chin.
To some extent though the poem reflects, not just the society of the time, but also Elliot’s own place in it and his rather pessimistic view of his own situation. In this essay the poem will be considered as to how it reflects his life. Poetry Genius (2014) describes it as being :-
The lines at the beginning are taken from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and are spoken by one of the damned souls in hell, Count Guido da Montefeltro, who describes how nobody ever returns from this dead state. Prufrock in this poem may be walking and talking in an earthly city, but in some senses he too is one of the living dead, observing society, yet not quite part of it.
Prufrock has a companion, a listener to whom he says (line1) ‘Let us go then, you and I.’ It is unclear whether or not this listener is a real companion, or just Prufrock talking to his inner self as an internal monologue in which he describes himself in both negative and positive terms as when he says :-
So he sees himself as a lesser figure, an attendant upon society, an extra in a film set perhaps, but with a role nevertheless. He then acts this out, by moving only on the very edges of society, in this case at the head of the stairs, rather in the room with the women talking about Michelangelo. They are interested in a great and admired artist, so why should women even notice him? Even the soot from the many chimneys falls upon him, making him even more invisible (line 19).
The original title for the poem was ’Prufrock among the women’ (Cummings, undated). He isn’t interacting with them, and seems totally unable to. He is just there at the same time. Time seems to have stood still for him, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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