Masculinity In The Lovesong Of J Alfred Prufrock

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Masculinity in T.S. Eliot’s, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

The Modern Poetry Era (1914-1945) was a time filled with many new and revolutionary poets. Of these poets was a man named T.S. Eliot, whom was considered by many to be the most significant poet of his time. Eliot’s earliest work, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, set the bar for Modernisms exemplification of Man and his Modern Masculinity. This was done by incorporating Symbolism, and Imagism along with looking past the profound facts, and into the subconscious (Freud). Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is written as though Mr. Prufrock is playing a game of tennis through Eliot’s back and forth style. It may be hard to follow, but this unevenness of thought shows how the “Modern Male” thinks. His inability to be decisive illustrates that it is now considered masculine for men to think and feel, rather than just act out before thinking. This belief is a major change from Week 1’s Romanticism era, where men were more focused on action, rather than thoughts and feelings. Alfred Prufrock is portrayed as being shy and timid when it comes to the women he wishes to address.
“And in short, I was afraid.” (Stanza 86)
“I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.” (Stanzas 123-125)

Based on these quotes it is almost as if the man feels as though he is unfit for the woman that he desires. This display of shyness does not seem so masculine at all based on previous weeks’ readings, but as time has passed it is beginning to be thought of as masculine in the
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S. (2012). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. In The Norton Anthology Of American Literature (pp. 368-371). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Miller, J. H. (1965) Poets of Reality: Six Twentieth-Century Writers. Cambridge, MA: In The Belknap Press of Harvard UP,
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