The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

1512 words 7 pages
Question: Part A: Analyze the social and historical context of a particular poem
Poem: T. S. Eliot, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The context of any given text whether poetry, novels or a movie is always integral to its understanding. Social and historical context of not only the given text, but the writer’s context and reader’s context play an important role in the interpretation and understanding of the major ideas, issues, values and beliefs within the text. T.S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot was one of the twentieth century’s major poets and still remains relevant today. For many, Eliot and his works synonymous with Modernism; his “use of myth to undergird and order atomized modern experience; its collage-like juxtaposition of
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Romanticism was embodied most prominently in the visual arts, music and literature (Shirey, R, 2007, p. 109). It developed in the late18th century and was partly an uprising against upper-class social and political norms. However, the general characteristics of Modernism, is modern thought, character, or practice. The term encompasses the actions and output of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, literature, architecture, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social and political conditions of an industrialized world (Shirey, R, 2007, p. 156). “Prufrock too is a dramatic monologue, but it is also a poem that threw away the canons of the poetical and made nonsense of the distinction between seriousness and levity in art. It broke the rules laid down by tradition as to what the language of poetry should be” (Blythe, H & Sweet, C, 2004, p. 71). This quote in itself demonstrates the impact of Eliot’s poem and shows us how he used poetry in order to challenge the prevalent ideals, values and behaviors of his time and, thereby, sparked the change from romanticism to modernism. In analyzing the poem we can simultaneously look at the context of the poem and this can be a projection of the writer context and interpreted through reader context. The setting is quite

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