T.S. Eliot composed poems from within his experiences, physical or mental conditions and his own social observations. To fully comprehend Eliot’s work, we must first understand what he has gone through at specific times in his life. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” becomes a great example of were we must primarily understand what has happened to Eliot. “There can be no simple equation between the experiences of the life and the poetry”(Scofield 18). Eliot’s poetry became a reflection of himself, and this is especially noticeable with his poem, “Prufrock.”
According to Scofield, Eliot became a victim from acute anxiety and depression in the earlier part of his life (17). This could have been due to Eliot’s failed marriage. Scofield also describes Eliot as having an unstable life. He states that Eliot “took a leave of absence (…) on an account of an illness described as ‘nervous breakdown’”(17). The poem “Prufrock,” is based on male anxiety and insecurity, possibly experienced by Eliot himself. Prufrock struggles with his anxiety, and through out the poem this can be seen by the way that he questions himself in lines thirty-eight to forty-one of “Prufrock”:
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-
[They will say: ‘How his hair is growing thin!’]
This stanza shows how Prufrock worries about people judging him. Prufrock’s insecurity, which is based upon an image of Eliot’s own insecurity, plays a major role in the poem. By the time this poem was completed, Eliot was in his thirty’s. A man at that age, such as Eliot’s, fears of loosing his ha...
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...scenery; he also gives an atmosphere. In lines fifteen and sixteen of “Prufrock”, Eliot describes the air that Prufrock breathes in the poem as being contaminated with gases and smoke. It says:
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Such images as these are like those seen by Eliot when he once lived in St. Louis. Due to Eliot’s obsession with certain scenery and negative outlooks on life, he is able to project moods into his work.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a reflection of Eliot’s life in almost everyway. Everything that Eliot was going through, such as a bad marriage, anxiety and depression, and his observations of city life, have been echoed in his poem “Prufrock.” Therefore, I believe that it is Eliot who walks in the streets of “Prufrock,” and not Prufrock himself.
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