Essay on Images of Hope in T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock"

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  927 Words
Date:  2022-06-05


The relationship between modernism and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" brings the imagery of hope utilizing the characteristics of modernist poetry. Eliot conveys essential elements of contemporary life to show the natural reality in the lives of the narrator and the characters. Modernism properties like objective correlation, irregular rhyming, free verse, and fragmentations are evident throughout the text to show that Eliot's work in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" marks the literary shift from the nineteenth century Romanticism to the beginning of the twentieth century in modernist poetry. The poem narrates of a timid man, Prufrock, shy to express his love feelings in the entire text. The title of the poem is ironic because though, it is regarded as "The Love Song", the narrator never declared his love to the women he is attracted to. This complexity and psychology behind Eliot's line of though decamp the traditional perspective of love life to a more complicated urbanization that poses a high dilemma in the civilization era of modernism. This paper will portray how Eliot's writing falls in the zeitgeist of modernism exploring the literary devices of imagery, metaphor, and symbolism.

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Images, metaphors, and symbols are used in the text to make direct replacement of certain statements to give the audience a clearer picture of the writer's intentions. The different metaphoric or symbolic representation in the text offers more psychological appeal to the contextual understanding of their use more than the grammatical understanding of their use. Images and symbols of the coffee spoons in the poem Eliot saying: "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." (1.51). the in-text understanding of the imagery used of the phrase coffee spoons evokes a precision measure of Prufrock life happiness. The symbolic use of coffee spoons allotment of his life aspects of uncertainties. The "coffee spoons" phrases symbolize the social rituals that the narrator despises as elements of life reality controversy. The use of the normal of coffee and tea during social situations demonstrate the socialization elements of the modernism, and when the narrator talks about coffee spoons show that his life is measurable in small quantities. The use of this imagery the writer is able to portray the fragmentation and objection of reality.

Further, Eliot uses the image of mermaids to show the ocean life as a symbolic representation of the beautiful women who would not get to his attention. Prufrock in his attention to mermaids to portray how unreachable women in his life were he says: "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each." (124). In this metaphoric representation, Prufrock tries to show how the women in his world ignored him. He used the imagery of sea life to show instability of his emotional waves that he was not able to express to the women in his society because they either ignored him or were unreachable like the mermaids in the ocean. The symbolic representation of mermaids makes a negative image leaving no hope for the narrator to get the attention. Using this demonstration of ocean life to symbolize Prufrock's frustrations, Eliot was able to place his writing in the modernism poetry when social life did not follow a natural order like in the preceding zeitgeists.

In line thirteen and fourteen of the poetry by Eliot follows that: "in the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo." (13 - 14) to show the cruelty of life and the narrator's open anger at the unfairness life was treating him. The way the narrator demonstrates his frustration by showing the motion of women coming and going as emphasize the repetition and sequential causing boredom and humdrum. Prufrock shows the continuous cycles of women coming into the urban during the industrialization period. The context of the phrases shows a change of the romanticism to the modernism period due to the negative view in Prufrock's life owing to the frustrations of meeting many women from one to the other but non shows interest in him. The application of the new modernism aspects of social life from urbanization shows a change of lifestyle and the narrator meets different traits of women that the traditional perspective he is previously familiar.


In conclusion, Eliot demonstrates the irregularity of poetry shifting from the Romanticism to move into the Modernism. The poem shows that critics on modernism on the destructiveness but in the end, there is hope on thing turning out as expected. However, the perspective displayed in the poem "The Love Song of J. Prufrock" show that the narrator cannot find his luck in life and nothing seem to work in his favor. Using imagery and symbolism as perfect literary devices to make metaphoric illustrations of the thing contributed by modernism frustrating the narrator. The strong destruction attributed by the three images Prufrock borrows to vent his anger and frustration in life little or no hope is evident for change with the evolution of time. It's only appropriate that the narrator evolutionary ideologies follow a path to match the changing world than waiting for the reversal of times.

Works Cited

Eliot, T. S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." T.S Eliot: Collected Poems 1909-1962. New York: Harcourt Inc., 1965 (3). Retrieved on 21st May 2018 from

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Poetry for Students, edited by Marie Rose Napierkowski and Mary Ruby, vol. 1, Gale, 1998, pp. 96-114. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 20 May 2018.

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Essay on Images of Hope in T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock". (2022, Jun 05). Retrieved from

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