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Scary Mermaids Of Death

Eliot, ''The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing each to each. I do not think they will sing to me."

At first, I had a hard time figuring out what this poem was about. The language spoke to me, but I couldn't get a grasp on what I actually got out of it. It was like watching a movie with big chunks missing out of it, making it impossible to decipher. After several re-readings of it, though I decided that Eliot was trying to tell the story of an ordinary man in the form of a one J. Alfred Prufrock and his struggles with being ordinary. Prufrock feels he is nothing special, and he feels ridiculous trying to fit in whether it be with a younger crowd or his own generation. Basically he worked his whole life to fit in, and as he grew older and came closer to death, he couldn't see the point of wanting to fit in. As he walks on the beach near the end of the poem, the beach being the brink of death, he sees mermaids singing to other people on the beach. I think the mermaids symbolize angels, whether of Heaven or Hell, I'm not sure. They won't sing to Prufrock though, because he is no one special, or so he thinks of himself. That was how I interpreted it.

At first I had a hard time figuring out what this poem was about. The language spoke to me, but I found it confusing and hard to follow what was going on.

Comments (1)

Jara White:

ohh wow your interpretation of the poem is really good. Throughout most of it I wasn't even sure what was going on, but after reading your blog I can see now how the poem is about wasted time and regret.

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