1. Who is J. Alfred Prufrock? The answer is not stated in the poem. You will have to make an argument and defend it.
• I think that in the Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, J. Alfred Prufrock is the narrator and he starts off as being a young man maybe in his twenties and throughout the poem he gets progressively older, becoming middle-aged and then elderly. “Let us go, through certain half deserted streets; The muttering retreats; Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels… Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’; Let us go and make our visit; In the room the women come and go,” (Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot, lines 10 – 19). To me, the above passage describes drunken nights with one-night stands, whose only purpose is to feel physical pleasure and stimulation but nothing emotionally or spiritually deep and enriching. The Narrator paints a picture that he must be young and naïve at this time, when he does not think about anything but the exact moment in front of him. Besides the masculine name, I do imagine that the Narrator is a man because most women do not participate in evenings like this but if they do, they typically do not feel satisfied with it when the morning light breaks through over the horizon. “Do I dare; Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time; For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse,” (Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot, lines 51 – 54). The Narrator has aged a bit because not only has he begun to think about things bigger than him, (i.e. the universe), but he is also concerned that his plans will be changed and it will either be a hassle to fix or he will not be able to correct it at all. “I grow old… I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each; I do...
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...interior issues. “But though I have wept and fasted wept and prayed; Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,” (Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot, lines 86 – 88). The Narrator continue the middle-age crisis trend by weeping over his loss of attraction because not only does he feel it slipping away and becoming a distant memory but there is physical proof for everyone to clearly see; that he is aging. “I grow old… Shall I part my hair behind?”, (Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot, lines 127 – 129). I find this bit kind of humorous because to me it entails that the Narrators no longer has any hair on the top of his hair but only on the edges of his skull. In my mind when the Narrator describes parting his hair, it looks like those older people with the long balding ponytails that are usually found at the beach.
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