Analysis of T.S. Eliot's Poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Till Human Voices Wake Us
T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” embodies many of the different feelings of American's during the Modernist movement. Prufrock was seen as the prototype of the modern man, it is through his character in this poem that T.S. Eliot shows how man felt insecure, how the new theories of psychology were changing the concept of the mind and how society was becoming more doubtful and indecisive and less of an action taking people. The film Till Human Voices Wake Us, uses Eliot's poem as a base to showcase these ideas and to show how dreams and the past can help shape a man. .
Prufrock is constantly thinking about what he looks like and how others perceive him. He states “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!']”(39-41) This shows how concerned his is with the way others view him. He points out an area of himself he is clearly not happy with. This insecurity can come from the fact that he is alone. The main character in the film, Sam, is also insecure. He never voices his insecurites through dialogue but through his body language. He is constantly alienating himslef. He doesn't talk to people when he arrives at his old house, and he stands to the side, alone, at his father's funeral. This shows that he is not happy, and is not secure with who he has become. Later on he tells Ruby that he has regrets but he can't do anything about it now. He is just accepting his inadequacy. Eliot shows how Prufrock's insecurities can be tide to isolation as loneliness is shown later on in the poem, “...
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...he boat again, she is not there, all that remains is the jacket, leaving the viewer to believe that it was all a dream and the two meet in their sleep. She was always dead but he couldn't face reality. In the poem the last line says,“Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”(131) The image of Prufrock being woken, and then drowning gives the reader the idea that as he is woken from his dream, and back into reality, reality drowns him. He can not handle the pressure of the real world, where decisions need to be made and action needs to be taken. Eliot is showing how the modern man is trying to dive into dreams, into their subconscious in order to escape the harshness of reality. Sam was doing the same thing, diving into the dream that Sylvy didn't die when he was a child but was still there to love him. Both characters had to wake from their dream to face reality.
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