T.S Eliot Love Song

Topics: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Portrait of a Lady Pages: 12 (3699 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Modern Language Studies

"Till Human Voices Wake Us and We Drown": Community in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Author(s): James C. Haba Reviewed work(s): Source: Modern Language Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring, 1977), pp. 53-61 Published by: Modern Language Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3194154 . Accessed: 18/03/2013 05:36 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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in Prufrock" Community "The LoveSongofJ.Alfred
JamesC. Haba the so is Theartofliterature, orwritten, toadjust language that vocal itembodies it what indicates. A. N. Whitehead T. S. Eliot seems to have relished the name "Old Possum," the as an to suggesting it does an inveterate slyness, ability survive attack Eliot's dead. Remembering ofravenouseyes and jaws simply playing by highregardfor quoted passage slynessmayhelp us to read thisfrequently from The Use of Poetry and the Use ofCriticism: in Thechief ofthe"meaning" a poem, theordinary use of sense,may of of and be (for hereagainI am speaking somekinds poetry notall)to one of to diverted quiet and while satisfy habit thereader, keephismind is as thepoemdoesitswork burglar aluponhim:much theimaginary with for ways provided a bitofnicemeat thehouse-dog. Here we mightfindjustification the typicalelusiveness of Eliot's for the reader a meaningwhich cannotbe quicklyswalpoetry:by giving lowed, Eliot perhaps helps the reader lay himself open to the poem's whatthelanguageindicates, Eliot mayhelp peculiarpower.By obscuring put the readerin touchwithwhatthe languageembodies. And ifwe pursue the metaphor the burglar of and the house-dog, poem's work,the the of effect whatthelanguageembodies,is to robthe readerofsomething he values. I suggest thatthistreasured is something the reader'ssense ofhis own alienation. In thisbriefpaper I wantto look closelyat "The Love Song ofJ. Alfred in Prufrock" orderto show thatperhapsit indicatesthe same exwhichitalso embodies.It mayeven be possibleto perienceofcommunity indicatedin literature extenare suggestthatall conceptsofcommunity which is literature. sions of the community For, looked at fromeither side-through the experience of the writer or throughthat of the reader-literatureis the sharingwith another(and nearlyalways unstuff one's of known) words,the mostintimate personofideas, emotions, world.The twentieth the century, apparently triumphal ofsophisticaage be tion,mayin fact distinguished the degree to whichit has neglected by thistruth: literature notso muchsomething read as itis something is to to be. T. S. Eliot mayhave sought dramatize to and to overcome just this failure whatis surelyone ofthiscentury's in mostwidelyread poems. By on concentrating the openingand closinglines of the poem, "Let us go then,youand I," and "Till humanvoiceswake us and we drown,"and by usingthe lightwhich mightbe afforded the later,and verypopular by 53

"Till humanvoices wake us and we drown":

This content downloaded on Mon, 18 Mar 2013 05:36:29 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

the important qualities which play The Cocktail Party2-in particular, shareswithCelia Coplestone-we can perhapsbegin to see the Prufrock whichis centralto the poem's conclusionas not simplydeath drowning more into a community but also as baptisminto a new life,...
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