Close Read of Articles about “Prufrock”

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I GET IT. J. Hillis Miller has made endless lightbulbs go off in my mind. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is no longer a compilation of abstract ideas hidden behind strange tenses, it is a window into T.S. Eliot’s mind and intentions. Just from Miller’s page long article, I understand how Prufrock is living in all aspects of time and how that is extremely confining; by being in the past, present, and future all at once leaves him, “Formulated, sprawling on a pin.” (“Prufrock” 57) Like all mysteries that become solved I wonder, how did I not see this all before? Prufrock’s debilitating subjectivism and endless repetition prevents him from ever connecting with the woman that is so meaningful to him, and prevents him from disturbing the universe, even if he desired to do so. This article would have that big of an influence on the remix design Nicole and I created, just because we strayed so far from Eliot’s original meaning. However, this article has greatly influenced my understanding of the poem itself. The article makes me excited to read the poem again, to see if there is anything else I can discover.

In John Paul Riquelme’s article, he makes constant references to the meanings of the pronouns “you and I” and how they help contribute to an audience that is genuinely confused as to the state of the speaker. I loved the comparison to “Las Meninas” by Diego Velasquez. I did a project on Velasquez in Spanish class a few years ago, and when I was first introduced to one of his most prolific works, I was immediately struck by how the painting draws you in and shuts you out. I feel similarly about Eliot’s poem. This is a poem that can’t decide is it is remembering past events, lamenting the present, or foretelling the future. Once the reader has a solid idea of what is going on, the perspective shifts and he or she is once again on the outside. This article is a continuation on the ideas presented in Miller’s article, and both have helped to grasp what and who Prufrock is, and  where he is in life and in his mind. In a different remix of Eliot’s poem, I would try to incorporate some of this ever-changing perspective, as an homage to the incredible premise of Eliot’s work. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity for comprehension of this poem, and I can definitely say that I’m on my way to real appreciation of this work.

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