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You know what I mean?

Eliot, ''The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"It is impossible to say just what I mean!"

I've always loved this poem, but it's so abstract. I've always felt that it dealt with artistic impotence, the inability to really create something that's as great as you want it to be. I can so relate to this quote because I often have a lot of trouble putting my abstract thoughts into words, and whenever I'm writing something I wrack my brains trying to come up with how to express it but I sometimes feel it's just impossible to really express the thought exactly as it was in my brain. That's why I think Eliot goes through a whole bunch of allusions, from Dante's Inferno to Hamlet to John the Baptist. He's trying his darndest to get something off his chest, and he's on a desperate quest to figure out how to get it across.

Comments (3)

Chera Pupi:

Ohh, that really makes a lot of sense Matt. I was kind of struggling with all of the allusions. But I guess you're right. Eliot has something important to say and wants to get it just right. Thanks!

I think it is rather ironic that you said the poem was about artistic impotence when throughout the course of the poem Prufrock is traveling thrugh an art gallery. Though I guess that would add to the depth of the piece.

This is a great take on the issue -- one that I wish we'd had time to discuss in class. On some level, all poetry is at least as much about art as it is about the human feelings one finds represented through the language of the poet.

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