Essay Emotion in T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Emotion in T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock In his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” T.S. Eliot subtly conveys a wide variety of Prufrock’s emotions; he creates pathos for the speaker by employing the “objective correlative,” which Eliot defines as “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events [that] shall be the formula of that particular emotion” (“Hamlet and His Problems”). The first stanza introduces Prufrock’s isolation, as epitomized metaphorically by “half-deserted streets” (4): while empty streets imply solitude, Eliot’s diction emphasize Prufrock having been abandoned by the other “half” needed for a relationship or an “argument” (8). Hoping for a companion, Prufrock speaks to the reader when…show more content…
The “eyes” (55) and “arms” (62) that Prufrock claims to “have known” are synecdoches for women; since he does not say he is familiar with their hearts, which would metaphorically imply experience with their love, Prufrock only knows women physically. He gives one explanation for this by noting the “perfume” and “dress” (65) that make him “digress” (66) from presumably his goal: instead of fostering relationships, Prufrock focuses on sexual/sensual aspects. In spite of this, Eliot provides insight to Prufrock desiring more than physical intimacy through the repeated mention of meals: “toast and tea” (34), “tea and cakes and ices” (79), “marmalade” (88), “tea cups” (102); these references indicate a wish to no longer dine alone, and Prufrock saying, “Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me” exemplifies his aspiration for domestic life. Eliot explains Prufrock’s isolation by hinting at the man’s anxiety. When Prufrock says, “There will be time to murder and create,” (29), he likely refers to the elimination of possibilities and the manifestation of a consequent situation and/or problem; he could refer to, for example, how best to use the time “before…toast and tea” (34), meaning breakfast, i.e. a night. Copulating would “murder” the opportunity of talking all night and could “create” a problem in the form of an illegitimate child, while sleeping would eliminate any options, thus forcing Prufrock to
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