Verious Aspects of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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       Anti Romantic : The poet, T.S. Eliot, marks a break from the Romantic tradition of the nineteenth century. Romantic poetry, the steam of which ran at its highest flood in the first half of the nineteenth century, became weak and thin. By the end of the century, the romantic poets sought an escape from the realities of life into the world of nature an art. He also exploited the past for its pageant and glory. Eliot's poetry faces the problems of modern life and does not turn its back from urban civilization. Its settings are in the streets of London or the city slums. The ugliness of the factory surroundings and pollution of the smug and loneliness of the city life, inspite of its swelling crowd and exclusive parties, are represented by Eliot without any fear, or favour. He does not white-wash the grim picture of urban surroundings. The restaurants smelling of oil and dust and rotten cabbages filled with sawdust, are found in The Love Song.


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a definite departure from the English romantic poetry and may be taken as a land-mark or as a pace-setter or trend-setter for modern English poetry. It gives a new direction and new trend to the twentieth century poetry.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


      Anti Love : Romantic poetry dealt with love with all this glamour and glory. Love was the only refuge from the stresses and storms of life. They wrote of their own love affairs and those of their characters. The Love Song is in no sense a love poem. It is a recoil from love. Prufrock is undecided about his lady and has no idea of speaking out his mind. He may be called an anti-hero because he is nervous, timid and cowardly who imagines himself sometime as worm and sometime as spider and sometime as a fish.


      Colloquial Language : Romantic poetry had its own diction which was highly imaginative and evocative. Though Wordsworth laid stress on the use of language, really used by men, the works of Romantic poets expressed themselves in a language which was quite deliberate, suggestive and emotional. Eliot, however, uses the colloquial idiom. The words are bodily taken from every day conversation, for example the very first line of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock "Let us go, then, you, and I" shows how the poet sticks to reality in the matter of diction. Prosaic words are found in a great abundance as for example. "Half deserted streets, chimneys, coffee-spoons, smoked cigarettes, and men in shirt sleeves" etc.


      Flexibility of Versification : The, traditional verse form and rhythms have been rejected by Eliot. He believes in the freedom of the writer and in the need of flexibility of style. One need not be slave to the requirement of metre and rhythm. For example The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock has stanzas of different lengths and rhyme scheme is also not regular. Some lines are rather short and some rather long which reflects the moods of Prufrock. Moreover, free verse has become popular in modern age because it responded to the fleeting moods and images of the poet and also is in consonance with the complexities of modern living. This freedom of experimentation and innovation is fully exploited by Eliot in different poems.


      Unusual Imagery : The romantic poets used conventional images and symbols. They drew largely on nature and the past for their images. Eliot, however, draws his images from the immediate scene, from the dirty environments of the streets and slums. The evening is compared to a patient, lying on the operation table. The city-streets are compared to tedious arguments, one following the other. "Nerves of Prufrock draw pattern on a screen with the help of magic lantern for his beloved to see."


      Objectivity in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" : Impersonal tone of the poet, Prufrock is not Eliot. He is a protagonist of Eliot. Romantic poetry was mainly subjective, where the poets wrote substantially of their own thoughts and feelings. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is not subjective but objective. Prufrock is the hero of the poem and not Eliot. The poet is only describing what happens in the minds of Prufrock. Similarly, Eliot writes about the thoughts and feelings of Gerontion and Sweeney.


      Romantic poetry was the poetry of dream world. It offered an escape from the sad realities of life into some imaginary world. Eliot, however, does not wish to create an imaginary world. He wishes to highlight horrors and frustration of modern life. This does not mean that he is solely engrossed in the negative and destructive aspects of urban life. In some of his poems, especially in the later poems, he dwells on the steps necessary for the survival of modern civilization and man's spiritual progress. He is primarily concerned with the problems and frustration of modern man and how they could be overcome.


      Conclusion : All these elements mentioned above indicate that The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a definite departure from the English romantic poetry and may be taken as a land-mark or as a pace-setter or trend-setter for modern English poetry. It gives a new direction and new trend to the twentieth century poetry.

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