Thomas Eliot Essay Research Paper Thomas Sterns — страница 2

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stair,? but now time is running out. Throughout the poem, Prufrock?s concept of time changes. Initially, he takes time for granted: There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea. There are two significant incidents in the poem that cause Prufrock to alter his view on time. The first is when he asks the question ?Do I dare / Disturb the universe?? Immediately after posing this question ??there is time [only] For decisions and revisions which a minute will

reverse?, implying that he realizes his time is limited. Second, he comes to the understanding that he plays the part of the Fool, which arouses the realization that he is almost out of time. This awareness leads him to the ?Overwhelming question?: What happens after time runs out? Fingers entwining about his very soul, Prufrock?s neurosis leads him again and again to peer into the face of death. He has ??seen the eternal Footman hold [his] coat, and snicker.? In short, he was afraid. ?The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase? are the eyes of God calling him to account for his life; ?Then how should I begin / To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?? The mental image of being ??pinned and wriggling on the wall? suggests that Prufrock is terrified of the time when he

will be held accountable. (Although at the earliest reading these lines may not appear to have any profound meaning, in light of the overall context of the poem this interpretation has sufficient validity.) His neurosis makes him the master of his own hell. As unorthodox as these views on Prufrock may be, there are credible sources that substantiate the above theories. Prufrock?s concentration on physical concerns is highlighted in several quotes: ?Wanting nothing less than the ability to fully articulate and control an image of himself, Prufrock is afraid of both himself and others. (McNamara, 203), ?Prufrock is bothered by the women?s opinion of his appearance?he is merely hoping that by conforming to the standards expected by society he may be able to keep the backbiting women

at bay.? (Bagshee, 192) Literary support for Prufrock?s mental state of both anxiety and emotional denial is overwhelming. There is ??the real sense of isolation, of loneliness, that exists under the surface.? (Bagchee, 187) The quotes ?It is as if his mind were gradually convulsed with spasms of suffering and then were intermittently rallied with a mythology of self-esteem, only to succumb each time to more rational despair.? (Smith, 220) and ??this sinister, slithering, and self-willed street is an active agent of the anxiety that haunts the protagonist.? (Bagshee, 191) paint the dark picture of a disconsolate man. ?The self and the self-image can never coincide? and the result is an interminable anxiety which can only increase.? (Ayers, 212) Robert McNamara describes

Prufrock?s pathology perfectly when he asserts: ?Prufrock? treats the disease in the only way Eliot acknowledged it could be treated: ?the only cure for Romanticism is to analyze it.? Rhetoric is pathological, in Eliot?s view, when it becomes vehicle for evading feeling [and] for creating self-satisfying illusions. This is exactly what Prufrock does. His over-analysis of every minute detail is a vain attempt to shirk the ?question.? ?Surely the ?overwhelming question? is there in the poem?? (Dyson, 184) ?In his absurd and pointless life the encounter with this question is likely to be the only significant thing to happen to Prufrock? The point of the intersection between time and eternity? So far his life has been far from remarkable and he knows that? Prufrock needs something

that is infinite.? (Bagshee, 192) The fear of being accountable for a wasted, superficial life is the reason he has difficulty confronting the ultimate question. T.S. Eliot?s poem, ?The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock?, has challenged me to explore the frontiers of my emotions. With delight I consumed each line in hope of a deeper discovery. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to study such a profound poet. This process will better equip me with essential.