The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Rejection of Structure in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Preludes" 12th Grade

Human nature is inherently chaotic, and one of the few ways in which we can attempt to order our lives is by sharing our grievances and concerns with others—hence, our need for art. Inevitably, poetry such as T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Prufrock) and Preludes, that explore this notion of rejecting structure both conceptually and thematically is what makes it so appealing. In fact, though these poems investigate the human condition through the lens of Eliot’s Modernist context—which, in itself, is a rejection of the strict attitudes of the preceding eras—the concept of our fractured existence from our identities, purpose and time is one that is universal and ongoing. It is thus to a great extent that this exploration of the lack of structure in our lives and, by extension, in art, contributes to the appeal of Eliot’s work.

Intrinsic to Eliot’s exploration of humanity’s unstructured and fractured existence is how that leads to a deepened questioning of our purpose, agency and autonomy. In fact, it is because of his complex explorations of these notions within his work that it has an ongoing appeal. In Prufrock, this aspect of the human psyche actually manifests in the external world that serves as a backdrop...

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