T. S. Eliot's The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock And The Waste Land

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Modernism was a period in the early twentieth century that often dates back to the publication of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” This movement broke the traditional ways of form, concepts, and style found in poetry and allowed poets to freely express their ideas and beliefs through various ways such as free verse, fragmentation, allusions, imagery etc. T.S. Eliot is known for modernizing himself on his own by using fragments that incorporate multiple voices into his work. Eliot’s use of fragmentation and allusions in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and The Waste Land demonstrates his belief that modern society is disordered and chaotic and his realization that reality is too disjointed to understand. Fragmentation…show more content…
Alfred Prufrock” is fragmented structure itself where he uses scattered, broken pieces that eliminate the traditional linear flow of a poem. This is mostly done through his exquisite imagery. Eliot writes, “I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (“Prufrock” 73-74). With this fragmented image, again, we learn more about Prufrock than we do about Eliot; it explains how Prufrock would be better off being a shelled creature, such as a crab, so he is protected by his outer-covering and doesn’t truly have to interact with anyone in the real world. Eliot also uses imagery to indicate the indecisive personality of the speaker. For instance, he writes “And would it have been worth it, after all,
/ After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
/ Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
/ Would it have been worth while,
/ To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
/ To have squeezed the universe into a ball
/ To roll it toward some overwhelming question” (“Prufrock” 87-93). This vivid imagery shows how he compares taking on some overwhelming question to squeezing the universe into a ball; this is virtually impossible, so Prufrock is very intimidated by confronting people in society, specifically women. He believes that it wasn’t worth it and convinces himself it was a good idea that he didn’t risk anything for this woman. The fragmentation in…show more content…
Alfred Prufrock” was and still is a popular poem of T.S. Eliot’s, his most well known work is The Waste Land, which epitomizes the modern era. He uses the poetic elements of fragmentation and allusions to depict an image of the modern world through perspective of a man finding himself hopeless and confused about the condition of the society (Rhee 4). This poem also does not continue in a linear direction; although it may seem disjointed, these elements coherently communicate what modern society ultimately believes. This pattern is easily found in every aspect of the poem. The Waste Land itself is divided into four sections, so by glancing over the poem, a reader sees that the whole is already broken into smaller pieces. An example of this deliberate fragmentation is found in the third section of the poem, “The Fire Sermon.” Eliot writes, “On Margate Sands. / I can connect / Nothing with nothing. / The broken fingernails of dirty hands. / My people humble people who expect / Nothing” (“The Waste Land” 300-305). This could easily be written in a linear style, but Eliot intentionally uses these short fragments to emphasize the speaker’s disjointed state of

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