T.S. Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
A comparison of several of Emily Dickinson’s poem’s to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot.
The paper looks at the strong contrast between The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and the social commentary in Emily Dickinson’s poems, notably 67, 249, 254, 505, and 712. The uncertainties of social standing that plague the character J. Alfred Prufrock are contrasted with Dickinson’s resolve of these issues in her own life. A distinction is also drawn between their outlook and view of themselves in society and their ultimate happiness. The paper proposes that Dickinson’s poems answer the questions Prufrock poses regarding his inability to take action.
`At the beginning of the poem, Prufrock shows the woman he is with a sunset, comparing it to `a patient etherised upon a table` (3). This instantly creates an unsettling mood of social insecurities. Dickinson also uses ether as a metaphor, writing that she `would rather be the One/ Raised softly to the Ceilings-/ And out, and easy on-/ Through Villages of Ether-` (505, 10-13). While Dickinson embraces this ethereal sleep, Prufrock eschews such intoxication. Prufrock’s sterile use of the word is indicative of his staid, passive lifestyle.`
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