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prufrock1 - Title Josh Jon English 124 In the poem The Love...

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Title Josh Jon English 124 10/8/10 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 must be well thought out and calculated. T.S. Eliot shows us the effects the poem’s society can have on a person such as J. Alfred Prufrock, one is that is so deep into his own uncertainty that he is unable to emotionally connect with other people. Through ironic literary allusions, structure of time, and juxtapositions, T. S. Eliot illustrates how the society in the poem can cause insecurity and apprehension for the speaker, J. Alfred Prufrock, which leads to an emotional paralysis. Eliot uses literary allusions to emphasize Prufrock’s paralysis by comparing him to Lazarus and Hamlet. Lazarus was characterized in the bible as the brother of Mary and Martha. He was deceased for four days until Jesus came to his tomb to bring him from the dead. Prufrock compares this physical revival to his own potential emotional revival as “To say: “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) in John 11:45, “…many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.” Even though Prufrock wishes to “Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all” (95), he knows that this is impossible due to the isolated shell he puts himself in. He is unable to draw any sort of attention to himself in the manner that the miracle of Lazarus did, as many were then converted and even Jesus himself wept. In fact, he is afraid of what society thinks of him as Eliot emphasizes this thru brackets of
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“[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”] (41). Prufrock’s fear of society is stressed once again as he worries about “… how his arms and legs are thin!” (41), all pointing towards his growing age. Prufrock is described as going through the reverse process of Lazarus as he “… seen the eternal Footman hold my coat” (85). He feels closer and closer to his own death “And in short, I was afraid.” (86). As Prufrock’s actual fearful character is shown, the more the idea of Lazarus as a self-delusion rather than a realistic comparison is demonstrated. Prufrock’s comparison to Hamlet, in this poem, is nothing more than ironic. The Shakespearean play
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