The Love Song of J Essay

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Matin Saparzadeh
Professor Island
English 2
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is perhaps one of the poet’s earliest major works which was completed in 1910. What can be clearly seen in this poem is that writer used various literary devices such as simile, repetition, imagery and personification in order to put forth a doleful and sad theme to this piece. These literary devices were also effectively used to describe the character loneliness of J. Alfred Prufrock.
One of the first literary devices used is simile. In the first stanza, the writer is inviting the readers to come and walk with Prufrock and gives the reader an idea of his personality. The line “when the evening is a spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table” is a simile used by the writer as it reflects the character’s sadness, loneliness and paralysis. The idea of a “patient etherized upon a table” indicates the image Prufrock is in a way unable to move or is trapped in his own lonesome world. This is further explained by the writer as he used imagery to describe the place where Prufrock is inviting the reader. This is visible in the lines:
“Let us go through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells.”
Such imagery used gives paints the image of a dark, winding, and cold place. It also figuratively depicts certain loneliness and the feeling of being lost which is felt by Prufrock. Symbolism is likewise present in various parts of the poem. In the second stanza for instance, the writer mentions a room where “women come and go talking about Michelangelo”. The idea that the women are talking about Michelangelo connotes something deeper. The writer brilliantly uses the Michelangelo to pertain to his masterpiece which is the sculpture David. This particular piece of art is also seen by the world as a symbol of youth and male beauty. This presents an irony to the character of Prufrock. Contrary to what the women are discussing, Prufrock is in fact, an opposite of David. While Michelangelo’s David who is handsome and youthful, Prufrock is a middle age man with a balding hair which is mentioned in the lines “with a bald spot in the middle of my hair (they will say: “How his hair is growing thin!)” as well as in the line “they will say ‘but how his arms and legs are thin’!” Another literary device used by the writer is personification. This is mostly visible in the second stanza where the “yellow fog” and “yellow smoke” is given both cat-like and almost human-like characteristics. For instance the line
“the yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drain” denotes a characteristic similar to a cat. Uses such actions to indicate how Prufrock is like a yellow fog who is simply staring from outside the windows while watching the women he desires to be with. The writer used the image of a yellow fog to denote the gloomy and sad emotions of Prufrock. Similarly, the writer gave the fog cat-like characteristics to symbolize Prufrock’s shyness and timidity. In the same way, Eliot uses the characteristics of a cat to symbolize how Prufrock allows such shyness to hinder him to be with the women thus he simply decides to “curl once about the house, and fell asleep”. Repetition is also another technique used by the writer to emphasize the scenario where the character always seems to find himself in. In the poem, it the writer mentioned the “room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo. This technique greatly contributes to the tone of the entire poem primarily because the writer main aim is to tie in the emotion or the theme of the poem with the setting. In this case, the setting reveals Prufrock’s aim to be with the women as well as his incapacity to do so. Similarly, the lines: “there is time.”,…