The following research paper is a comprehensive, and detailed look into the life and poetry of T.S. Eliot. Research includes an accurate retelling of his life, and then delves into T.S.’s complex and controversial poetry through my personal analysis of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and continues with two critics’ literary analyses. Then, a literary criticism written by Robert McNamara in his “Poetry Criticism, Vol. 31” is discussed, followed by a criticism included in Will and Ariel Durant’s “Interpretations of Life: A Survey of Contemporary Literature”.
Exordium! Modern era poetry was widely influenced by Eliot’s style. His background is one of intellectual prowess, and his poetry helped shape the time period. “The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock” has been analyzed countless times, and ... Eliot’s use of allusions, as well as his somewhat satirical tone, leads to many interpretations of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; however, the poem has an ubiquitous theme that will survive to influence future generations.
T.S. Eliot: The Life
The life and legacy of Thomas Stearns Eliot began in St. Louis, Missouri in the year 1888 (Durant, 1970, p.90). T.S. Eliot was well educated in literature and style, including puritanism and Unitarianism (Durant, 1970, p.90). His cousin was the president of Harvard University, and according to Durant, “His name drew him to Harvard, where he spent eight years (1906-1914) as undergraduate and graduate student,” (Durant, 1970, p. 90). Shortly after graduating, Eliot studied in Germany (Bradbrook, 1984, p. 143). World War I broke out at this time period, and forced T.S. to move to England, where he studied at Oxford (Durant, 1970, p. 90). Although World...
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...tire interpretation revolves around the idea that Prufrock is indecisive in proposing to a woman. The ‘proposal’ theory is built upon in Durant’s statement in respect to lines 37-40:
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
Prufrock is aging, and wants to ask her before it is too late, but he cannot commit to do so (Durant, 1970, p. 91). The poem closes in lines 125-131:
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-Girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
The emotional impact that the final line has on readers is recognized by Durant. In the typical Prufrock fashion, he chooses to not make a decision, and “returns to his solitude, dreams of lovely women, and waits for death,” (Durant, 1970, p.92).
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