Monday, 23 April 2012

Identifying Prufrock

"LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
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:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit."

                              - T.S Eliot (The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock)

The lonely and insecure Prufrock of T.S Eliot's "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock" has always captured my interest by drawing my attention to the striking similarities between the character himself and psyche of a 21st century modern man.

Earlier, in the 20th century the multi faceted developments in the field of science and technology coupled with the gruesome after effects of the First world War, none the less created an atmosphere of disillusionment.

Eliot heavily resorts to Imagism and Symbolism in capturing the mood of those times in his poetry and in his depiction of Prufrock as a modern intellectual.

Full of doubt, nervous and shy, extremely insecure about his appearance, Prufrock who claims to have measured his life with coffee spoons, is worried because people around him being immersed in the shallowness and superficialities of life have no interest in his words. Prufrock says that even if you tell them, " I am Lazarus", they would pay no heed to you. He finds himself lonely and cynical, not able to merge with the society of his times. Unable to bear the frustrations of modern life, Prufrock escapes into his fantasies of mermaids under the sea.

Today, our generation  has seen even greater technological developments. More of wars, unrest, chaos and violence. In a mad rush to cope up with Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest, we struggle, becoming more materialistic and shallow in the process. Selfish and self centered. Intellectual yet insecure. Life though ambitious is mundane, meaningless and mechanical. At the break of dawn, putting on our masks we pretend as if all is in control. While inside we're just like Prufrock, nervous, shy, insecure and lonely. Soulless and empty, we attempt to escape into our world of fantasies day in and day out.

Buck up, the time has come to mend our ways. Even in the midst of our disillusion, let us make efforts to bring back the warmth of genuine love and concern for each other. Let us put away our masks and be what we are, true to our self first and then to others, allowing the flicker of hope to burn brighter each day.

"Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." ( The Bible - 1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG)


  1. love extravagantly:) yep..that solves all the problems of human beings..


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