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Prudefrock - Josh Jon English 124 Prudefrock In the poem...

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Josh Jon English 124 10/8/10 Prudefrock In the poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, T. S. Eliot describes a society where knowledge is key and intuition and gut feelings are lost; everything in this poetic realm must be well thought out and calculated. T.S. Eliot shows the effects that the poem’s society can have on the speaker; J. Alfred Prufrock is so deep into his own uncertainty that he is unable to emotionally connect with other people in the poem. Through ironic literary allusions, the structure of time in the poem, and juxtapositions of his current relationship made up of social formalities and the more unique one that he desires, T. S. Eliot explains how judgments in the poem causes insecurity and apprehension for the speaker, J. Alfred Prufrock, which leads his emotional paralysis. Eliot uses literary allusions to emphasize Prufrock’s paralysis by comparing him to Lazarus and Hamlet. Prufrock compares this physical revival to his own potential emotional revival with him saying “I am Lazarus, come from the dead”. (94). However, he quickly counters himself by immediately doubting the validity of such a statement as a potential lover would in his mind respond by saying ““That is not what I meant at all./ That is not it, at all.” (96-97) Even though Prufrock wishes to “Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all” (95), he knows that this is impossible as he constantly lamenting over his lost time due to his indecisiveness. In the biblical story of Lazarus, after his revival many people gathered around to see this great feat and even Jesus himself wept. In contrast, Prufrock is unable to share or express his situation with anyone. Eliot emphasizes that Prufrock is afraid of judgment through parentheses of “(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”) (41). Prufrock’s fear is stressed once again as he worries
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about “… how his arms and legs are thin!” (41). Prufrock is afraid of how people will view him as his physical appearance is getting older with his thinning hair and weaker body. Prufrock is described as going through the reverse process of Lazarus as he “…seen the eternal Footman hold my coat” (85) as he feels closer and closer to his own death rather than being revived like Lazarus, the “eternal Footman” representative of the afterlife of some sort. Prufrock’s fearful character is shown when he says, “And in short, I was afraid” (86) and this exposes the increasing idea of Lazarus as a self-delusion rather than a realistic comparison.
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