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Isolation Amidst Decadence In Prufrock - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Class 7 December 2011 Isolation Amidst Decadence In “Prufrock” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (“Prufrock”) by T.S. Eliot is not an ordinary love song for a woman. It satirizes modern living and its consequences to the human soul…
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Download file to see previous pages Several repeated lines or words signify the emptiness of Prufrock's life, due to his loss of human relations. Eliot repeats the line “And indeed there will be time.” This repetition suggests Prufrock's “boredom” (Bloom 18) with his life. It is interpreted that his boredom comes from his life's decadence and adherence to physical wants. His boredom is also apparent from the outward manifestations of his isolated life. For instance, Eliot repeats the word “time” eight times in the fourth stanza. This repetition suggests that Prufrock has too much time (Bloom 18) , because he is wealthy already and do not need to work. As a result, he focuses on the material aspect of his life, and he also does not find any need in establishing lasting relationships. When Prufrock refers to rooms where “women come and go” (Eliot line 13) and where they talk about Michelangelo and perhaps the rest of the art world, he refers to the world of sophistication. His “necktie rich and modest” is also an evidence of his comfortable life (Eliot 43). But as women come and leave, which Eliot also repeats twice, this line indicates the absence of permanent and reliable relationships. Prufrock may have all the time in the world, but he has no one to spend it with. This absence of relations extends the availability of time for him, which ironically extends his misery. In addition, Prufrock is self-conscious with his age, as he mentions parting his hair and repeatedly says: “I grow old… I grow old…” (Eliot 120). Ellis asserts the existence of “isolation” in the modern world (2). Prufrock's consciousness of his age underlies his lack of a family to grow old with. He has no wife or children after all. Prufrock is actually a bitter soul, but Eliot uses irony by mocking Prufrock's life with comedy: “I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” (Eliot 121). Eliot says that it is laughable to have a man be so conscious of his looks, and yet be religious, when he does not even fully live life. His life is incomplete, because he has not loved or had been loved so deeply. Furthermore, the poem's setting also reflects urban living, which seeps life out Prufrock's soul, because of his lack of real human connections. The urban setting is satirized, when the sunset fails to evoke romantic images and instead becomes “a patient etherized upon a table” (Eliot 3). Romance does not exist in a city with no soul, which the patient represents. The city has no soul, because people go about their lives, like Prufrock, living, but not living with strong human relationships. The streets also show “cheap hotels” (Eliot 6) and “sawdust restaurants” (Eliot 7) . These are images of short-term relationships. Hotels are for quick sex, while the restaurants are also seedy and unreliable. They reinforce the feeling of lost human connection that Prufrock feels. Cervo says that Prufrock lives his life as a long process of “meticulous” (Eliot 116) obedience to the “rituals of worldly sophistication, the conventions of the genteel tradition...” (Cervo 208). Prufrock, instead of appearing confident, looks absurd with his “white flannel trousers” (Eliot 123). He aims to impress his society, but in the end, his over-analysis of his life leads to further isolation. The setting also affects Prufrock's attitudes. He is religious, because he often prays: “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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