Prufrock Fragmentation Analysis

997 Words 4 Pages
The poem was written between 1909 and 1915. It uses the dramatic monologue style, where the readers are only silent listeners. It is tempting to think that the poet , Eliot, is describing his own life through the character of Prufrock but the stark differences between young Eliot ( at the time he wrote the poem) and a balding ,middle-aged Prufrock, negate this assumption. Eliot also used the literary technique of fragmentation, which was popular in his time. The poets of his time used fragmentation in their poems, to represent the disorganized times they lived in.
The poem starts with a latin verse from Dante, where one of the inmates of Hell, reveal all the horrors of Hell to Dante, because he thinks that he (Dante) will not return to the
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Despite being a successful, middle- aged man, he lacks the emotional maturity that his years should have provided him. He fears that the women he approaches, will overlook his success and judge him instead, on his physical weaknesses and only talk about his “bald spot in the middle of my hair” or how “his arms and legs are thin”. These lines clearly depict how insecure he is about his physical appearance. Another illustration of his lack of self-confidence is, when he says, “when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall”, where he feels like a laboratory specimen, pinned up on a wall for others to dissect and find fault with. Prufrock’s lack of confidence, further makes him say, “I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each, I do not think that they will sing to me”. In this phrase, mermaids signify the beautiful women he aspires to be with. He is worried that these women he fancies, won ‘t recognize him and won’t even talk about him. The references in the latter part of the poem to, “I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” and “shall I part my hair behind”, shows the self-conscious Prufrock’s desperate attempts to appear younger to the women he fancies. This lack of self- esteem and self-loathing, especially about his physical appearance, actually hinder Prufrock’s chances of achieving the relationship, he so badly …show more content…
“In the room woman come and go, talking of Michelangelo”. The reference to Michelangelo is particularly poignant because his most famous sculpture, David is the embodiment of masculine magnificence, in stark contrast to Prufrock’s derogatory opinion about his own appearance. “And how should I presume”, shows us that Prufrock is extremely anxious about approaching a lady without invitation. “That is not what I meant at all”, illustrates Prufrock’s fear of failing at physical intimacy with a woman. He fears that the humiliation he will face at having disappointed the woman physically, will be far worse than having no woman in his life. The repeated references to “time” in the poem are also interesting because time, in the poem, is moving forward relentlessly, while Prufrock himself is paralyzed.
To sum up, the poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, describes Prufrock’s personality traits, his extreme self-consciousness, his fear of rejection, and his fear of facing the consequences of his own actions. Through the medium of Prufrock, the poet also alludes to the predicament of a modern man whose timid, self-conscious nature, and fear of failure, paralyze him into facing a bleak and hopeless

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