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Hesitation, Repression, and Indecisiveness in the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Project id 1002278
Subject area Writing
Document type Essay
Words 1601
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Impotent, pathetic, insufficient, shy. Everyone knows a J. Alfred Prufrock, and everybody has a bit of him in himself or herself. Just like Prufrock we readers have already been witness to the pretentious triviality of the others, the women who "come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo" (lines 13-14), along with the absence of assurance which prevents the realization of desires. Eliot's careful choice of epigraph from Dante's Inferno reverberates through this suggestion as the logic supporting Prufrock sharing his feelings with his own tribe. Just as Guido da Montefeltro is certain that his man shares a similar fate as himself, so to does Prufrock feel that his listener is like himself, and will not "turn back and descend the stair" (line 39). Prufrock's insecurities mirror our own. "He's", as Harold Bloom states in his inaugural investigation, "insecure about his thinning hair and his attire, paranoid that he has been mocked. To get Prufrock 'there'll be time, '' to not encounter life, but 'to prepare a face,' to pose and also to equivocate" (Bloom 18). Eliot's use of literary apparatus such as imagery and repetition from the poem serve to emphasize Prufrock's hesitation, repression of appetite, and indecisiveness. Prufrock's hesitation could be observed primarily from the poet's use of reproduction and metaphor. Eliot uses metaphor in the next stanza in which he contrasts the "yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes" into a cat. While the kitty does not represent Prufrock, its moves mirror his own, quitting to complete eight separate activities before it bends around the home to sleep. The cat moves with the same care and hesitation as Prufrock does. The use of the phrase lingered from the seventeenth line emphasizes this hesitation and foreshadows Prufrock's in the si...

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