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The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufock is a tale of a lonely man caught between an imaginary world and a realistic world. Within these two worlds he searches for someone to appreciate his true values and not have to put on the social mask that everyone wears amongst crowds. In this passage he wants to know if his efforts to make conversation amongst female company would pan out into something more than a one-night stand. He has been to many parties before and knows that there is a certain type of personality conformity that goes along with the social atmosphere. He does not like putting on this social mask to attract women and just wants someone to understand and appreciate him. The repetition of phrases using the words "worth while" portrays a sense of confusion for Prufock. His only question seems to be if putting on this type of mask will bring him a sense of love. He feels that it would only cause him to be misunderstood: "Would it have been worth while, If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, And turning toward the window, should say: "That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all. (lines 106-110)." He then realizes that he may not be the most elite man but he has something to offer to somebody if he had the chance: "No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; (line 111)." He admits that he is not perfect and actually can be the furthest from at times: "At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—Almost, at times, the Fool. (lines 118-119)." He realizes that his time is slowly fading as he gets older and it depresses back into his fantasy world: "I grow old ... I grow old ...(line120).". Prufock has fantasies of mermaids singing The mermaids symbolize real women and how his feelings of rejection by them. Similar to real women he feels that they will reject him as well and will not sing to him: "I do not think that they will sing to me (line 125)." This passage and poem ends with Prufock falling out of his fantasy world and back into reality: "Till human voices wake us, and we drown (line 131)."
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Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens is a powerful poem of one woman's attempt to find a spiritual life. Through the first section of the poem the woman enjoys life and at times finds herself casually thinking about the afterlife. A sense of guilt enters her because her enjoyment of life causes her to push thoughts of another life away: "She dreams a little, and she feels the dark (line 6)." She thinks about how Sunday is the holy day but it feels so empty to her; "The day is like wide water, without sound, (line 12)."
The second section is an argument of another voice in her head. This voice is asking why should she dedicate herself spiritually: "Why should she give bounty to the dead? (line 16)." She doesn't understand why she must have a sense of commitment to a world she cannot see. She feels perfectly content with the world she lives in. She rejects this spiritual world but at the same time she wants something to believe in: "Divinity must live within herself (line 23)."
The third section is the history of divinity. Mythology is mentioned with reference to Jove, who is a non-human supreme god: "Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth." This section also explores the birth of Christianity: "Until our blood, commingling, virginal, With heaven, brought such requital to desire (lines 36-37)."
The main idea of the first three stanzas is this woman trying to establish a sense of spirituality. She wrestles with the idea if any of this does exist. In her dreams she feels a sense of longing to a spiritual world, but the physical pleasures of the world causes her to ignore those feelings.