Thomas Stearns Eliot was born to a very remarkable New England family on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Henry Ware, was a very successful businessman and his mother, Charlotte Stearns Eliot, was a poetess. While visiting Great Britain in 1915, World War I started and Eliot took up a permanent residency there. In 1927, he became a British citizen. While living in Britain, Eliot met and married Vivienne Haigh -Wood and at first everything was wonderful between them. Then he found out that Vivienne was very ill, both physically and mentally. In 1930, Vivienne had a mental breakdown and was confined to a mental hospital until her death in 1947. Her death was very hard on Eliot and he died on January 4, 1965. Most of Eliot's works were produced from the emotional difficulties from his marriage.
Because of Eliot's economic status, he attended only the finest schools while growing up. He attended Smith Academy in St. Louis and Milton Academy in Massachusetts. In 1906, he started his freshman year at Harvard University studying philosophy and literature. He received his bachelor's degree in philosophy in only three years. Eliot went on to study at the University of Oxford and also at the Sorbonne in Paris. At the Sorbonne, he found inspiration from writers such as Dante and Shakespeare and also from ancient literature, modern philosophy and eastern mysticism.
Eliot's first poem he wrote was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in 1915. Eliot converted his religion to Anglo - Catholicism and in 1927, his poetry took on new spiritual meaning. Ash Wednesday was the first poem he wrote after his conversion in 1930. It is said that it traces the pattern of Eliot's spiritual progress. It strives to make connections between the earthly and the eternal, the word of man and the Word of God and the emphasis is on the struggle toward belief. Thus telling us that God is part of Eliot's American dream. Other poems Eliot has written are Portrait of a Lady (1915), Mr. Apollinax (1916), Sweeny Among the Nightingales (1918), and Four Quartets (1943) which he believed to be his greatest achievement. Eliot also wrote the play "Murder in the Cathedral" (1935). It was about the murder of Thomas Becket and was later turned into a film in 1952. Other plays written by Eliot are "The Family Reunion" (1939), "The Cocktail Party" (1949), "The Confidential Clerk" (1953), and "The Elder Statesman" (1959). Eliot is considered one of the greatest poets and equally one of the greatest critics to ever live even though many were put off by his personality. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948 and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. In Eliot's masterpiece "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," as time passes so does the human spirit of the narrator. His heart decays by the moment. Even within his fantasies he is tortured by the ever-present problems which plague him throughout his life. He can't even see the point in expressing his love because of the fear of being rejected. Eliot's depiction of the worries of aging is a major aspect incorporated into the poem. Although Prufrock is a man of knowledge and society he is still a misfit because of a little characteristic he can do nothing about. Age kills us all, but for Prufrock it has already killed him. In T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the author is establishing the trouble the narrator is having dealing with middle age. Eliot's American Dream has the effect that eternal life, love and beauty is what he wishes he had. Prufrock (the narrator) believes that age is a burden and is deeply troubled by it. His love of some women cannot be because he feels the prime of his life is over. His preoccupation with the passing of time characterizes the fear of aging he has. The poem deals with the aging and fears associated with it of the narrator. Prufrock is not confident with himself mentally or his...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document