Distress in The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock Essay

Distress in The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock Essay

Length: 1080 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock - The Distress of J.Alfred Prufrock


The human psyche is divided into three distinct aspects: the Persona, the Shadow, and the Anima/Animus; at least, it is according to Jungian Psychology. Drawing heavily on the theories developed by Freud, Jung's psychological concepts tell us that if these three facets are not properly integrated - that is, if one of the three is overly dominant, or repressed, or all three are in conflict with each other - then an individual's energies - his libido - will be out of alignment, causing psychological distress and unconscious problems.

The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock, if read Archetypaly, reveals to us such an individual. J.Alfred Prufrock, the nebbish little man that he is, has some very serious problems - he is extremely indecisive, obsessed with trivial details, and frets over inconsequentials ('Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare eat a peach?'); more importantly, he seems to have an inability to confront the opposite sex, choosing instead to develop elaborate fantasies in which to meet imaginary women - all of whom seem to be either cruel, vain, or sinister in some subtle way.

An archetypal analysis drawing upon Jung's theories seeks to uncover the reasons behind Prufrock's neurosis. The first line of the poem - 'Let us go then, you and I' - gives an immediate insight into Prufrock's problem: his psyche is out of joint. The 'You' and 'I' of the poem are two aspects of his personality: his Shadow and his Persona, respectively.

Prufrock is very much aware of the schism within his own mind. His Persona - the aspect of himself he presents to the social world - remains dominant most of the time. His Shadow, however, comp...


... middle of paper ...


...s earlier illness.

Unfortunately for Prufrock, this apparent cycle is entirely contained within a small portion of the whole. Prufrock participates in a greater cycle, but one that seems to end, not in life, or rebirth, but in a symbolic death. He is a crab, a '... pair of ragged claws/Scuttling across the floors of silent seas', a man who wakes... and drowns. His cycle ends negatively, without the rebirth. He never gets his act together, never integrates his personality properly, never stops being the sad little nebbish of a man that he is; the cracks in Prufrock are never mended.

-Michael J.Noakes

Works Cited

Eliot, T.S. "The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock ." The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume Two. Ed. M.H.Abrams, 6th Edition. New York: Norton, 1993. 2140-2143.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- In his timeless poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Thomas Stearns Eliot sheds light on Europe’s devastatingly morbid backdrop after the First World War by juxtaposing the parallel concepts of loneliness and depression through the utilization of a fragmented stream of consciousness as his primary narrative mode. In view of that, T. S. Eliot accordingly employs the persona of J. Alfred Prufrock, an intensely indecisive middle-aged man who ponders an “overwhelming question” in the context of his desire to spark up a conversation with a woman....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1232 words (3.5 pages)

The Lovesong Of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- T.S. Eliot 's The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, published in 1915, is a prime sample of Modernist literature: the reader must tease out and untangle its central themes in order to fathom what exactly it is about. But we 'll still never be totally sure - this is what makes Eliot 's writing style so unique and so highly regarded. The Modernist writers, with their predilection for the abstract, thrived on leaving their audiences in a state of confusion, as a means of mirroring the distress caused by the looming threat of destruction and war in the early twentieth century....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1449 words (4.1 pages)

The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a poem that was written by T. S Eliot. The poem introduces the character, Prufrock, as a man who is very pessimistic about everything and is incapable of change. Prufrock sees the society he lives in as a place that is full of people who think alike, and he thinks he is different from them. Though Prufrock, realizes that the society he is associated with needs a change and have more people who think differently, but the fact that he is very concerned about what people would think of him if he tries to speak up to make a change or that he would be ignored or be misunderstood for whatever he says hindered him from expressing himself the way he would like...   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1246 words (3.6 pages)

The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock Essay

- Self-doubt is a constant emotion people in society face at some point in life. Some may struggle with it more than others. It is unavoidable and often ignored. Self-doubt is the lack of confidence in one self and one’s abilities. It is a difficult emotion to face head on and deal with, so it is simply pushed to the back burner. This becomes very dangerous because it has the ability to take over one’s life in the blink of an eye, much like Prufrock in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1105 words (3.2 pages)

The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- I have chosen to write about T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” since the poem has surprised me in various ways. To begin, I was surprised at the fact that this so called “love song” was not a love song or poem at all. Actually, it was, but it was not a love that had two individuals admiring each other mutually. The poem addressed the issues of a man who tried to pursue a woman but could not because of the insecurities he dealt with. However, the poem caused me a bit of trouble in order to write a thesis statement about it....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Essay about The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

- T. S. Eliot uses The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to highlight the everyday anxiety which stops humans from living meaningful lives. A few ways in which Eliot exemplifies this everyday anxiety is through the suppression of important thoughts or questions, a mundane hyper-focus on the trivial, and a crippling fear of other’s opinions. One major idea throughout The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is the suppression of an important question. The first the reader hears of this question is in stanza 1, lines 10-12, “To lead you to an overwhelming question ....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

- Abstract 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”....   [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1802 words (5.1 pages)

The Pitiful Prufrock of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- The Pitiful Prufrock of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock        T.S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," is a melancholy poem of one man's  frustrated search to find the meaning of his existence.  The speaker's strong use of imagery contributes to the poems theme of communion and loneliness. The Poem begins with an invitation from Prufrock to follow him through his self-examination. The imagery of this invitation begins with a startling simile, "Let us go then you and I/ When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table." This simile literally describes the evening sky, but functions on another level....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1314 words (3.8 pages)

An Analysis of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

-   The editors of anthologies containing T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" invariably footnote the reference to Lazarus as John 11:1-44; rarely is the reference footnoted as Luke 16:19-31. Also, the reference to John the Baptist is invariably footnoted as Matthew 14:3-11; never have I seen the reference footnoted as an allusion to Oscar Wilde's Salome. The sources that one cites can profoundly affect interpretations of the poem. I believe that a correct reading of Eliot's "Prufrock" requires that one cite Wilde, in addition to Matthew, and Luke, in addition to John, as the sources for the John the Baptist and Lazarus being referenced....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
1939 words (5.5 pages)

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay: Time

- Time and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock     Pericles once said "Be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all." This ruler of the past might not have had the technology of today, but he did not need it to recognize time’s domineering nature over all mankind. No matter what advances man makes, he will never be able to slow down time nor stop it completely; nor it appears will he be able to leap into the past or the future. Time is one thing that man cannot manipulate, instead it manipulates man....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Strong Essays
2012 words (5.7 pages)