T. S Eliot

T. S. Eliot- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

          he is a damned soul (when it comes to love)

          dramatic monologue

          fragmentations, alienation, atomization

          repudiate idea of rational, unified cogito

          problem of contingency: dependent on other factors; nothing is self dependent

o   unstable, impermanence


o   pair of ragged claws: crab…sea creature

§  an enclosed subject

§  he has a shell around him

§  isolation/ fragmentation

o   coffee spoons

o   an insect of a pin

o   butt-end of my days and ways

o   eternal footman

o   magic lantern

o   yellow fog: animal metaphor; marking its territory

          innovations in form: philosophy

          speaker is distinct from poet

          poetry: escape from personality

o   neither emotion, recollection or tranquil

o   poets mind a catalyst: distinction between “I” in poet and “I” in life

          mechanical process where something now is produced

          Prufrock revealing himself in fragments

o   urban man in modern setting

o   his experiences and feelings

          multiple identities: prepare a face & murder and create

o   making and ending fluid identities

          garments make a specific identity

          self construction for others

o   self annihilation

          personae: multiple identities that people construct for themselves; fluid and solid identities

o   pinning him down

o   people attempting to make a fixed conclusion as to who he is

o   how he looks (old and thin)

o   there’s room for self to emerge beyond perception of others

          is it society, stereotyping/ labeling…or just women

          IRONY: putting women into one category while trying to resists their categorizing of him and his identities

          revealing a fragmented psyche, peculiar moods and emotions

          we have to piece it together (story and person)

          he invites us in; he’s alienated from those around him

          he attends a cultured party (upper middle class)

o   toast and tea

o   Michelangelo

          talking to himself and us as well

          seems reluctant to pursue this question he wants to ask

          patient is “etherized”→ not moving; needing to be healed

          different tenses, blurred sense of time…lots of confusion

          IRONY: this isn’t’ really a love song, because he says as how he can’t express that emotion

          momentousness: exaggerated drama

          mundane: everyday existence

          his impression of urban landscape= projection of his inner turmoil and hesitation

o   urban, seedy setting

o   cheap pubs

o   dreary streets represent his mood; uncertain, frustration, despair, exhaustion

          “I’ is not fit for celebration but ridicule; “they” = women have shattered his self confidence

          decisions & revisions: overturning of optimism

          women make him nervous

          he is a modern man, shy, cultivated, sexually retarded, self-aware, over sensitive, isolated, middle aged

o   nothing exists outside of himself

          END: communal pronoun→ “we” instead of “I”

o   shift from individual to collectivist approach

          he’s pessimistic about women because they don’t want him


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