The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock: The Pitiful Prufrock

T.S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," is a melancholy poem
of one man's frustrated search to find the meaning of his existence. The
speaker's strong use of imagery contributes to the poems theme of communion and
loneliness. The Poem begins with an invitation from Prufrock to follow him
through his self-examination. The imagery of this invitation begins with a
startling simile, "Let us go then you and I/ When the evening is spread out
against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table." This simile literally
describes the evening sky, but functions on another level. Prufrock's
description of the "etherised" evening indicates an altering of perception, and
an altering ...

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denotes a person waiting for
treatment. It seems this treatment will be Prufrock's examination of himself and
his life. Prufrock repeats his invitation and asks the reader to follow him
through a cold and lonely setting that seems to be the Prufrock's domain. The
imagery of the journey through the city is described as pointed to lead the
reader (and more accurately Prufrock) to an overwhelming question. Prufrock's
description of the urban city is quite dreary: " Let us go, through certain
half-deserted streets,/ The muttering retreats/ Of restless nights in one-night
cheap hotels/ And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells;/ Streets that follow
like a tedious argument/ Of insidious intent." This is the lonely setting that
Prufrock lives out his meager existence. This city is suspended under the same
anesthesia that spreads the evening like an "etherised patient." Prufrock
moves his attention from the city to his final destination; "the room the women
come and go/ Speaking of ...

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the importance he feels now that he is past his prime: "Time to turn back and
descend the stair,/ With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--/ (They will say:
'How his hair is growing thin')" This shows Prufrock's fear of being laughed at.
Furthermore, this line shows Prufrock's desire to "disturb the universe," and
his fear that he will be scoffed at for not acting his proper age. When he
speaks of time it is in a contradictory fashion. On one hand, he feels a sense
of urgency as he travels to the party, because must decide if he will ask his
question. Yet, while he agonizes over whether to attempt a change in his life,
he tells us time is plentiful, explaining "there will be ...

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The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock: The Pitiful Prufrock. (2007, November 9). Retrieved October 23, 2021, from
"The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock: The Pitiful Prufrock.", 9 Nov. 2007. Web. 23 Oct. 2021. <>
"The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock: The Pitiful Prufrock." November 9, 2007. Accessed October 23, 2021.
"The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock: The Pitiful Prufrock." November 9, 2007. Accessed October 23, 2021.
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Added: 11/9/2007 02:55:38 PM
Category: Poetry & Poets
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1293
Pages: 5

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