Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The pursuit of youth, of sex, of “yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes,” some pursue this their whole lives, a bachelor looking in the corners of streets and bars for a bit of youth and company. This is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, 1917. It is the song and love story of men who search for their lover in places absent of love and instead only finds lust. Those who only find lust in these lonely places eventually become old, as the speaker of the poem realizes. The only argument in this poem is that of a man much past his prime, arguing to himself whether to retire the chase; the author uses logos, ethos and pathos when arguing to himself, and you, about giving up the Darwinian chase.

The author of this poem is T.S. Eliot a modern poet who is a contemporary of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Much of his work comes from post World War I, a period which was filled with excess and disillusionment with humanity and our ability to create and control civilization. The greatest war in the history of the world up to that point had just been fought. Millions died and the World with all its sadness could do nothing more then try and fill itself with wine and lust. The poem deals partly with this matter, mostly with lust and pursuit of women to find happiness in a world full of dingy sadness.

The author addresses himself in this poem. Much similar to you looking at yourself in the mirror and speaking to yourself; asking questions and answering them. A sense of this is achieved in the first stanza when he refers to “you and I” meaning the self seen by others and the self he perceives. Yet this rhetorical self is juxtaposed next to an ...

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...ser to death to argue that he is indeed growing older that because he has fear of death he realizes his youth is now gone. His fear is pathos and an appeal to himself that he is getting older. Remember that he is in discussion with himself and you are the audience to his personal monologue, he does not have to convince you that he is growing old but himself, the man in the mirror. Pathos or the poet’s emotional appeal is that he is afraid of death and simply that means he is growing older.

Those who find lust in instead of love in youth find themselves in the situation that T.S. Eliot finds himself in. That situation is growing old and still behaving as a lustful youth wondering what to do and reasoning with yourself over your wasted pursuit of women and whether to continue the chase or give into old age and “wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”
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