T.S. Elliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay example

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T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” tells the speaker’s story through several literary devices, allowing the reader to analyze the poem through symbolism, character qualities, and allusions that the work displays. In this way, the reader clearly sees the hopelessness and apathy that the speaker has towards his future. John Steven Childs sums it up well in saying Prufrock’s “chronic indecision blocks him from some important action” (Childs). Each literary device- symbolism, character, and allusion- supports this description. Ultimately, the premise of the poem is Prufrock second guessing himself to no end over talking to a woman, but this issue represents all forms of insecurity and inactivity.
First, Eliot weaves several layers of symbolism into Prufrocks’s narrative. This ambiguity shows largely through the vehicle of the yellow fog, which Eliot personifies with cat-like characteristics using phrases such as, “…rubs its back…rubs its muzzle on the window-panes” and “…curled once about the house, and fell asleep” in reference to the mist (Eliot). This feline depiction of the city smog creates an eerie setting which serves to further the tone of unsteadiness in Prufrock’s ramblings. The seeping movements of the fog also mirror the uncontrolled movements of Prufrock’s thoughts and his polluted self-concept which causes him to question his every move to no end (Childs). The smog is uncontainable and indefinable, much like Prufrock’s emotions when dependent upon his non-existent actions (Childs). In another instance, Eliot breaks up the deep, incessant wanderings of the speaker’s mind with the phrase, “In the room the women come and go talking of Michaelangelo” (Eliot). These women symbolize the society in which Pr...

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.... “Prufrock and Other Observations.” Magill’s Survey of World Literature. Web. January 2009.
Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Chicago: Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1915. Print.
Demaggio, Kenneth. “The Unknown Cloud behind the Yellow Fog: The Medieval Religious Journey in T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’” The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society. Vol. 2.2. Web. 2013.
Lowe, Peter. “Shelleyan Identity in T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” International Publication Center. P. 65-74. Web. 1999.
Campo, Carlos. “Identifying the ‘Lazarus’ in Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” English Language Notes. September 1994. Print.
McCormick, Frankie J. “Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ and Shakespear’s Hamlet.” Eastern Illinois University. P. 43-47. Print.

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