Landscape in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot
Although the full meaning within T. S. Eliot’s dense poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” proves difficult to grasp, the deep meaning packed into every word makes the pursuit to understanding this poem a never-ending adventure. Scenery in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” represents an intensely psychological account which should never, in any instance, by taken literally. The loss of time, the confusion of past, present and future tenses, the static movement, and the eternal metaphor of the question produces this psychological scenery which in turn amplifies the intensity of the poem.
Time in “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” plays a very important part in creating the landscape of the main character’s narration. The overwhelming sense of being caught in time begins within the first three lines after the epigraph: “Let us go then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherized upon a table;”. Just like a patient anesthetized by ether, the narrator appears trapped in a space of vulnerability at the mercy of others without the existence of time. Also, the association of the sky with an object as non-moving as a stone evokes a space in which the sky or the atmosphere has no movement: the loss of physical time. Time, in the case of the poem, appears endless (“And indeed there will be time.” pg. 4) as consequence to the narrator’s psychological state of “stuckness” and the sense of time becomes warped in confusion and solitude.
J. Alfred Prufrock’s isolation also represents a loss of time within the poem. The repetition of “And indeed there will be time…There will be time, there will be time…And indeed there will be time” alludes, once again, to a landscape without time. Also phrases such as “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” use repetition for the purposes of emphasizing Prufrock’s monotonous existence and...
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