The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock And The Waste Land

2146 Words May 14th, 2016 9 Pages
‘[Poetry] is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality’ (T.S. Eliot). Analyse this statement in relation to ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ or ‘The Waste Land’.

Certainly, the style of the poem does free it from questions about the personality of the poet, as we are more focused on the character who is the poem’s subject. The use of interior monologue means that the reader follows the character Prufrock’s thoughts as he has them. This makes the poem feel disjointed and quite confusing in places, as there is no explanation of Prufrock’s meaning; no background information given about the thoughts he has, nor any sense of continuity in some places. One example of this is the couplets that occasionally punctuate the flow of the poem, such as ‘In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo’. The thought interrupts the continuity between the two surrounding stanzas, and no context is given for it – we do not know who the women are, and no explanation is given. In changing the focus of the poem abruptly like this, Eliot keeps the attention of the reader on following what the character is saying, rather than what he as a poet may be trying to convey. The shifting of tenses reinforces this sense of confusion. Eliot changes tenses throughout the course of the poem, occasionally describing Prufrock’s thoughts of the future whilst moving back and forth between past and present. At the start of the poem the reader is led to believe…
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