'The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock'

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With “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, Eliot describes how the conditions of modernity lead to an anxious inability to take action and an inherent alienation between individuals. The Protagonist of the poem suffers from this paralysis and alienation and resigns himself to isolation. Eliot’s descriptions of modern life mirror his lived experience, however, in the act of writing, Eliot escapes the fate of his subject. To a certain extent Eliot is able to overcome the paralysis and alienation of modernity by unconcealing small moments of truth through the creation of works of art. Eliot’s first descriptions of the world Prufrock inhabits bring up images of a deserted and silent city in the evening. As the streets empty out, the world turns interior, as Prufrock takes us indoors. “Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets / The muttering retreats / of restless nights in one night cheap hotels” (Eliot, 1) From these lines already we…show more content…
Alfred Prufrock” and in the following lines. “And I have known the arms already, known them all- / Arms that are braceleted and white and bare / (But in the lamplight downed with light brown hair!)” (3). Prufrock has experienced intimacy with women, and by the way “light brown hair” is ended with an exclamation point, one might presume a closeness felt physically as well. However, in the same way Prufrock leaves his social connections anonymous here to Prufrock’s past loves are left faceless. Emphasis is put instead on the features of their arms, with later allusions to “smooth long fingers” backing up the idea that the women Prufrock has spent time with are merely arms to hold him in, and not individuals whom he’s been able to make meaningful connections with. Prufrock’s use of hands turns to the crustacean now, as he claims that “I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas”
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