The Mid-life Crisis in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Mid-life Crisis in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Length: 529 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is a poem which enters the dynamic consciousness of its title character, whose feelings, thoughts and emotions are displayed in a motley but organized sequence, as they ride the man's wavering mood. His is a mood wavering more often towards haplessness than fulfillment, because Prufrock is a man caught in a vicious cycle of introspection, journey, and retreat. More specifically, J. Alfred Prufrock, as developed by Eliot, is a man experiencing a mid life crisis, brought about by society, and sustained by his own fear and reluctance.


 Throughout his "song," Prufrock questions himself. He does so not after a performed action, nor during, but nearly always before. Seemingly inbred in him is the tendency to think deeply into everything he does, so that the consequences of his actions may not attract the attention of a society he sees constantly lurking behind him. Nervous and fearful of this hovering critic, Prufrock finds himself considerably shaken by life actions as simple as descending a staircase.
 

A task considered perfunctory and performed without conflict by others, Prufrock, when atop the staircase asks himself, "'Do I dare?' and 'Do I Dare?'"(Eliot 811). His reluctance comes with the response to the question, which Prufrock in his self-consciousness answers for society, answering, "(They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!') and "('But how his arms and legs are thin!'."  Prufrock's conflict thus arises because in his consciousness it is not the end of the stairs which await him as he stands at the top, but a society crouched in the shadows and poised to attack.
 

Henceforth, the cycle is revealed; Prufrock professes an intention, hesitates in paranoia at the prospect of achieving it, and then retreats into self consciousness upon contemplating what society would think of him, and his 'thinning hair' as he did it. This fact incites one to wonder if Prufrock, who repeatedly asks himself, "And how should I presume?" is trapped by and within his own mind, as it continues to engage in the aforementioned cycle. It is within this 'thinning hair' and these 'thin arms and legs' where Prufrock's inhibitions, and consequently the crises he finds himself in, are rooted.  Only a man in a mid-life crisis could be so shaken by a bald spot, so unnerved by silent comments aimed at his 'thin arms and legs' (which leads one to envision his torso to be the opposite) by a society which fuels its oppression of Prufrock with his own self-consciousness.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Mid-life Crisis in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Aug 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=13898>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Theme of Paralysis in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- The Theme of Paralysis in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock " 'I grow old ... I grow old ... I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.' What does that mean, Mr. Marlowe?" "Not a bloody thing. It just sounds good." He smiled. "That is from the 'Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' Here's another one. 'In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michael Angelo.' Does that suggest anything to you, sir?" "Yeah- it suggests to me that the guy didn't know very much about women." "My sentiments exactly, sir....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock Essays]

Free Essays
1858 words (5.3 pages)

Middle Age in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

- In T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the author is establishing the trouble the main character, Prufrock, is having coming to terms with middle age. He is deeply distressed over the fact that he is growing old, and feels that the prime of his life has passed him by. His preoccupation with time throughout the poem characterizes his fear of aging. He is a man experiencing a mid-life crisis, brought about by his perception of aging and his own feelings of inadequacy. J. Alfred Prufrock is a man caught in a trap of constant introspection and indecision....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Mid-life Crisis

- There is a period in the middle of adult’s lives when they start to experience changes in a how they look at life. This period often referred to as the mid-life crisis, is a period of self doubt often accompanied by depression when one starts to realize that their life is half over (Weaver, 2009). It is the period of life starting around age of 37 and continuing through one’s 50’s (Doheny, 2008). During this period a person may evaluate their past, consider their accomplishments, goals they haven’t met and then rethink their future....   [tags: Health, Depression, Mid-life-transition]

Research Papers
1888 words (5.4 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]

Research Papers
2012 words (5.7 pages)

Distress in The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock Essay

- 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....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Research Papers
1080 words (3.1 pages)

Eliot's Inferiority Exposed in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Sweeney Among the

- Eliot's Inferiority Exposed in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Sweeney Among the Nightingales "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" tells the story of a single character, a timid, middle-aged man. Prufrock is talking or thinking to himself. The epigraph, a dramatic speech taken from Dante's "Inferno," provides a key to Prufrock's nature. Like Dante's character Prufrock is in "hell," in this case a hell of his own feelings. He is both the "you and I" of line one, pacing the city's grimy streets on his lonely walk....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Free Essays
1167 words (3.3 pages)

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay: A Beautifully Complicated Masterpiece

- The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock : A Beautifully Complicated Masterpiece The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot is a beautifully complicated masterpiece. The poem rises above all standards of poetry and completely blows your mind. The poem consists of twenty stanzas, each telling a different part of the story of J. Alfred Prufrock's life. Eliot uses many poetic devices to add a hint of magic to the sound of the poem. The diction he uses turns what seems to be a normal poetic work of art into a dream where everything flows together like magic....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Research Papers
843 words (2.4 pages)

Essay About The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Comments

- T S Eliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock The Love Song is the lifetime of laments that one old-aged man remembers, which consist of his past failures. He then puts them into the context of his now-meaningless life to try to comprehend the significance and compensate for his loneliness.  Through Eliot's rich imagery and excellent use of Poetic Language, Prufrock's explanation of his memories, his experiences and most importantly, his feelings (most of which are doubt) come alive in this poem....   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Free Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay: The Existential Anguish of J. Alfred

- The Existential Anguish of J. Alfred Prufrock      Upon reading Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the first question which sprang to my mind was the question of how Eliot, a poet who was in his mid-twenties at the time, was able to write a poem dealing with the problems of aging in such a penetrating manner. Upon closer examination, however, I realized that Prufrock's aging was only incidental to his central problem. Prufrock's major problem is a problem of existential anguish. Prufrock's doubts about aging at a dinner party are merely one example of this anguish, and this party brings his psychology into sharp focus when the reader examines closely the moment in which the p...   [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]

Research Papers
1347 words (3.8 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]

Research Papers
1314 words (3.8 pages)

Related Searches


 

At summation of his love song, several wearing cycles having passed, Prufrock very nearly ceases to waver in his contemplation. In place of the poem's prior up and down rhythm, one can sense an idle calm, appearing irregularly out of the turmoil which is the man's consciousness. So the look into the mind of J. Alfred Prufrock comes to an end as he contemplates, "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each . . .I do not think that they will sing to me." (814).  The passionate reader could almost hear along with these words and those few following them, the man's subsequent resignation, and surrender to haplessness. 
Return to 123HelpMe.com