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The Love Song of J. Alred Prufrock

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Cassandra Drummons

Comp and Lit

Professor Mitchell

Spring 2011

Life is hectic and for some it seems the more money and power obtained the more stressful it becomes. But not everyone seeks the power and fame, just someone to love and love them back no matter what. "Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock", the earliest of T.S Eliot's major works, is an examination of the psyche of the man: overeducated, aging and a bit neurotic. Prufrock, the speaker, seems to be addressing an old or potential lover, with whom he would like to "force the moment to its crisis" by somehow developing a relationship. But Prufrock knows too much to approach the woman: In his mind he hears the comments others make about him, and he hides himself from emotional interaction.

Prufrock's characterization explains his fear that his true self will be revealed. No master of small talk, he repeatedly wonders how he should begin to talk about his unexciting life. Any revelation about him could bring rejection. He is certain that the ladies will not care about "the butt-ends of my days and ways", fearing that when he shares part of himself with another, she will be uninterested in his life. At times, the lonely man would go to the darkest place to find some sort of affection"../ I have gone at dusk through narrow streets, of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels. Prufrock didn't have friends so he turned the promiscuous women who lived a life of prostitution. Prufrock admits that he has "measured out my life with coffee spoons," implying that the tea parties are his only source of entertainment. And as he goes on with his days feeling invisible, all that invades him is thoughts of how people(mainly women) are judging his appearance, "they will say how his hair is growing thin". as well rounded at Prufrock is, he does not see himself as a worthwhile individual.

The women in the poem talk of Michelangelo, a genius whose varied masterpieces have earned him much respect, "In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo." Ironically, these women do not notice Prufrock, although he is alive and present. Eliot also refers to John the Baptist when Prufrock mentions that "I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter.../ I am no prophet". John the Baptist was murdered because he had courage. He died because he spoke the truth. But Prufrock imagines that revealing his true self to others would kill him, so he will not. He is "no prophet" because he has no courage.

T. S. Eliot uncovers a man who will not embrace his greatest need. Prufrock refusing to share himself, stunting his emotional growth, is especially shown at the ending of the

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