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Word Count: 3,925
Lines 1-36 Summary J Alfred Prufrock a presumably middle-aged intellectual indecisive man invites the reader along with him through the modern city He describes the street scene and notes a social gathering of women discussing Renaissance artist Michelangelo He describes yellow smoke and fog outside the house of the gathering and keeps insisting that there will be time to do many things in the social world Analysis The title of the poem is Eliots first hint that this is not a traditional love poem at all J Alfred Prufrock is a farcical name and Eliot wanted the subliminal connotation of a prude in a frock The original title was Prufrock Among the Women This emasculation contributes to a number of themes Eliot will explore revolving around paralysis and heroism but the name also has personal meaning for Eliot He wrote the poem in 1909 while a graduate student at Harvard though he revised it over the next few years eventually publishing it in 1915 and in book form in 1917 and at the time he signed his name as T Stearns Eliot While it would appear then that T Stearns Eliot was using J Alfred Prufrock as an alter ego to explore his own emotions this is not the case Superficial differences aside - Eliot was a young man in 1909 while Prufrock is balding and probably middle-aged - Eliot disdained poetry that focused on the poet himself He wrote in his essay Tradition and the Individual Talent that the progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice a continual extinction of personality He crystallized his ideas about how to achieve this extinction of personality in another essay Hamlet and His Problems The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an objective correlative in other words a set of objects a situation a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion Simply put
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