The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Sterility and Communion in T.S. Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins

Twenty some years after the death of Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot began where Hopkins had left off. In one of his earliest poems, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", Eliot picked up the hopelessness - hopelessness motivated by a sense of isolation - that had pervaded Hopkins later poetry. Both poets battled with their faith in their own importance. Both poets felt at a distance from the world, and as a result felt ineffectual and impotent to impact the world around them. This hopelessness is reflected in their jagged images and verse. With Eliot it is particularly pronounced in his early poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", while the same hopelessness is seen in Hopkins' later poetry; the so called "terrible sonnets". But, fortunately, for the poets, these times of hopelessness were not unending. Eliot escaped the hopelessness in his later life, as is particulalry evident in The Four Quartets. Hopkins only dealt with the hopelessness in his later life, and in his earlier poetry such as "The Windhover" and "The Grandeur of God", Hopkins is in great communion with the world. The period of skepticism was tempered by a time of great hope for each poet, a period...

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