Get help from the best in academic writing.

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay: Time

Time and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Pericles once said “Be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all.” This ruler of the past might not have had the technology of today, but he did not need it to recognize time’s domineering nature over all mankind. No matter what advances man makes, he will never be able to slow down time nor stop it completely; nor it appears will he be able to leap into the past or the future. Time is one thing that man cannot manipulate, instead it manipulates man. No poem better illustrates this point than T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Prufrock is trapped by the conundrum of time in that no matter what he does, he always regresses to his starting point. His life has been reduced to a diurnal cycle of monotonous chores that seem dictated by time. Prufrock’s ” decisions and revisions” are tedious and monotonous; in a sense, he has no free will. His lack of self-control can be clearly seen in his circular voyage throughout the poem: he begins his journey by conforming to time, makes a meager attempt to disrupt the invariability of everyday life, and finds himself again hopelessly bound by time to his habitual tendencies.

In this poem, time takes on a distinct meaning. Rather than simply being an external object that lacks control over man, Eliot raises the meaning of this foreign object to a new level. The time provided to the speaker can be equated with his actions. Everyday he is provided a certain amount of time, and day after day he is prepared to “spit out the butt-ends of [his] ways”(Eliot 2461) at the end of the his bland day. The frustration Prufrock builds up is caused by the tiresome repetition of his actions. Furthermore, he feels as though he can not esc…

… middle of paper …

…gle daily: we can not control time. No matter how much technology mankind obtains, it is unlikely that we will ever arrive at a point in history where time does not limit us in some way. The importance of this fact lies in its acceptance by man. Once we are able to comprehend our domination by time, we will be able to live in harmony with it, using all of this precious quantity which we are granted.

Works Cited

Eliot, T.S.. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996. 2459-2463.

Pinion, F. B. A T.S. Eliot Companion. Totowa: Barnes

Gabriel’s Epiphany in The Dead by James Joyce

Gabriel’s Epiphany in The Dead by James Joyce

Many people in society feel alienated from the world and separated from their fellow man while others may try to find meaning where none exists. In James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Gabriel Conroy faces these problems and questions his own identity due to a series of internal attacks and external factors that lead him to an epiphany about his relation to the world; this epiphany grants him a new beginning. The progression in Gabriel from one who feels disconnected to one who has hope parallels Joyce’s changing view of Ireland from finding it to be a place of inaction to one where again hope and beauty thrive.

In “The Dead” Gabriel Conroy and his wife attend a party thrown annually by two of Gabriel¹s aunts. The set of external circumstances at this party focuses attention on the futility and meaninglessness of Gabriel¹s life. The conversation at the party is mostly about people who have died and how they seemed to have been forgotten by the party guests (Magalaner 223). This subject affects Gabriel, making him consider how his accomplishments will survive his own demise. The definitive lack of anything meaningful in the discussion at the party also disturbs Gabriel. Joyce demonstrates the “failure of politics, religion, and art to provide any meaningful outlet for the impulses that glimmer through the party” (Werner, 58). Even the man playing the piano is producing “pretentious sound without substance” (Walzl 236). Gabriel¹s surrounding environment forces him to continually attempt to make sense of his own actions.

During his aunts¹ party, Gabriel also sees his own incapacity for action. This party happens every year, but instead of viewing it as “traditio…

… middle of paper …

…, 1988. 23-38.

Joyce, James. “The Dead.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996. 2345-2373.

Magalaner, Marvin, and Richard M. Kain. Joyce: The Man, the Word, the Reputation. 1956. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Shiela Fitzgerald. Vol. 3. Detriot: Gale, 1989. 216-224.

Tate, Allen. “Three Commentaries: Poe, James, and Joyce.” The Sawnee Review Vol LVIII (1950): 1-15. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Shiela Fitzgerald. Vol. 3. Detriot: Gale, 1989. 203-204.

Walzl, Florence L. “Gabriel and Michael: The conclusion of ?The Dead.¹” James Joyce Quarterly Vol 4 (1966): 17-31. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Shiela Fitzgerald. Vol. 3. Detriot: Gale, 1989. 233-239.

Werner, Craig Hansen. Dubliners: A Pluralistic World. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988. 56-72.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.