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On J. Alfred Prufrock and How He Really Just Needs To Get His Crap Together

by spinelli

Do not tell me, Oh, to not ask "What is it?" because, dang it, Prufrock, what if some of us just really want to know?

You cannot insist and persist on this "time" that may or may not be, for after all, the yellow smoke can only slide along the streets for so long. [Pollution, man.] The room is simply occupied by ordinary women coming and going talking in generics about works of art as they're so expected to do, and I'll tell you that the company is not worth the toast and tea.

And sure, the approaching evening and the prospect of disturbing the universe and regarding the question of whether it would have been worth while can be paralyzing like some patient etherised upon a table, but as it turns out your hair is balding and you're using obscure metaphors consisting of crustaceans to describe your current plight which can only mean that you, sir, need to make some sort of internal renovation.

Possess the strength, man! to squeeze this universe of you and some other into a ball, with a smile, and not simply approach but stand upon the overwhelming question and force the moment to its crisis. A mermaid might sing to you.

You and I both, Prufrock, have measured our lives with coffee spoons.

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541 Reviews

Points: 370
Reviews: 541

Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:27 pm
Lauren2010 wrote a review...

Hey there spinelli!

I'm going to try to offer some feedback on this as someone who has NO IDEA what you're talking about. xD From Hannah's review, I can deduce you're beginning a conversation with a particular poem (okay, looked it up, and am going to assume you're responding to 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. I feel like I may have read this before. Maybe. Anyways, moving on).

Okay, skimmed the poem.

First, like Hannah, I really adore that you're pursuing a dialogue with this poem. I'm not a future teacher (well, if I can help it), but I'm a literature student and love to see people get really connected to the work they're reading. It's beautiful and excellent and something people should do more.

However, it feels like you're simply picking out illusions and talking them down. While this is well and good, it seems to me there needs to be more of a conversation going on here. A give and take. Really expound on the bits you're rejecting, and consider working in comments on things you might agree with (or maybe you really just hate the entire poem?). Literature, and especially poetry, is multi-faceted. Everything can be read in five different ways in five different contexts from five different states of mind.

Especially as you conclude with:

You and I both, Prufrock, have measured our lives with coffee spoons.

It seems like you could really get into the ways you either agree with Prufrock, or see yourself aligning with Prufrock and sharing similarities in your mindsets. Perhaps you share his feelings, but would describe them differently. Perhaps you feel he is looking at the wrong places to express his ideas. I'd like to know what you think!

Considering this is filed under "Review", I'd like to see an engagement with both the positive and negative aspects of the piece. I love the way you're going about expressing your feelings already in this piece, I just want to see more!

Keep writing!


spinelli says...

Well, I've written a formal literary analysis over the poem, and I'm not sure if THAT'S what you'd rather me write, but that being said, this is actually my favorite poem. Haha, I love it, I mean, I'm even memorizing it. Bahaha. What I meant to do with the allusions though was see how much of an original perspective I could take on Prufrock's situation by using as many of HIS words as possible. So through his words, I'm attempting to respond to him, saying "look, man. I get that society is hard sometimes, but you can do it." :P I dunno why, I just thought it was an interesting challenge. Anyway, thank you for the review!

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Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:12 pm
Hannah wrote a review...

Haha, I like that you gave him absolutely no room for excuses. This is an amazing dialogue and as a future English teacher, I hope I'd have this kind of thing to use as an example of how people can actually speak with their reading material, challenge it, rather than just accept it and talk about it like it's not really in the room. I hate when people do that about other people.

I think, though, that you pushed the novelty of allusion too far in this. Rather than spinning out your seeds of ideas into legitimate claims against poor Prufrock, you were content to stick around and just play with pulling out lines from Eliot and half-heartedly dismiss them. Get some logic in there. Get some of your own emotions. Right now it's more like "haha, yeah right, buddy, that is totally lame".

I think you were right on the money with your commentary on the Michelangelo ladies (making a reference so you know I know what you're talking about!), 'cause it takes the height of the poem and actually makes us see the content of the image that was there: some women talking about art you'd find in a hotel room, most likely, 'cause we don't have many cultured women in our images of suburbia. The cool girls would be out in other countries or living alone in studio apartments with no friends 'cause they drift so much and no boyfriend 'cause they're too powerful on their own.

Take it further. You hit the image of reality, and I think that will serve you well. Taking the poem and boiling it down to its elements to relate it to modern people today and help us see, without just stuffing us full of references, that Prufrock really just does need to get his crap together from your point of view. Like, what is THAT old of a guy doing out on the beach? I'm sure he has some girlfriend back home who is just WAITING for him to find his career goal, and he'd rather think about shellfish. haha.

Work on it! PM me with questions or comments and I'd like to see edits should they happen. Good luck!

He who knows only his own generation remains forever a child.
— Cicero