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Comparison: Marriage, by Gregory Corso & The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot

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A common practice when faced with a difficult choice, self-examination, is the centerpiece of two popular poems: Gregory Corso’s Marriage and T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Both poems are dramatic monologues in which the speakers address the similar situations that they find themselves in. While the speaker of Eliot’s poem has a nervous and bashful approach in his attempts at romance, the hesitant postmodern speaker in Corso’s poem makes use of sarcasm to attack the institution of marriage. When these two monologues given by similar personas are analyzed together the result is a dialogue which discusses two distinguishing views on the ideas of romance and love.
Despite the similarities between these two poems, Corso and Eliot shared little in common. Corso spent much of his early life between foster parents and prison, the latter being where he was introduced to poetry. Now credited as a key member of the “Beat Generation”, a group of poets who were opposed to social conformity and the traditional forms of poetry, Corso typically wrote poetry “on serious philosophical issues” (Olson 53). On the other hand Eliot’s upbringing was more traditional where he attended Harvard and went on to become a figure of immense influence in the literary world. Eliot’s first major poetic publication: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock bares many resemblances to Corso’s postmodern poem Marriage, a poem written to criticize the philosophical issues associated with marriage.
To begin with, Corso’s Marriage opens with two rhetorical questions that the speaker attempts to answer throughout the course of the poem. The questions: “Should I get married? Should I be good? (Corso 1) are questions that the speaker finds himself c...


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...he Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock." International Journal Of Religion & Spirituality In Society 2.2 (2013): 35-41. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
Eliot, T.S.. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." An Introduction to Poetry. 13th ed. Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1966. 369-372. Print.
Haiqin, Xue. "On 'An Overwhelming Question' In The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock.Critical Essay)." Canadian Social Science 2 (2009): 79. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
McCormick, J. Frank. "Eliot's The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock And Shakespeare's Hamlet.(Critical Essay)." The Explicator 1 (2004): 43. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Olson, Kirby. "Gregory Corso's Post-Vegetarian Ethical Dilemma.(Gregory Corso)(Essay)." Journal Of Comparative Literature And Aesthetics 1-2 (2004): 53. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.



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