The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock Analysis

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The conditions modernism imposed on British culture and society at the turn of the 20th century spurred a literary response to the evolving world writers found themselves. As poets reacted differently to the changing world around them, the form and content of poetry produced by modernist writers varied. For example, high modernists engaged with social questions produced by modernity in a philosophical way, while offering the reader cognizant interpretations of the world around them. This is precisely what high modernist author T.S. Eliot does with his 1911 poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. On the other hand, late modernists offer observations on the implications modernism has on everyday life, interacting with modernity in a less profound way than their high modernist counterparts. For example, late modernist W.H. Auden’s poem “Spain” acts as a testament of modern life. Unlike high modernism, late modernism leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions regarding the impacts of modernity.
The stylistic differences between Eliot and Auden represent contrasting sentiments regarding approaches to modernity and the poet’s place in a modern society. For instance, high modernists such as Eliot use modernism to explore existential questions. The content of Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is cryptic, as the narrator asks the reader a seemingly rhetorical question which drives the poem forward: “’What is it?’” (11). The entirely open-ended question of “What

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