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English 1900- J. Alred Prufrock

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ENGL 1900
Jay Gamble

English 1900 th Mar.11 Modernism Revisited: - More emphasis on truths (lower case t) - Challenge against Truth (upper case T) - 1900-1945 o There are some debates about the for sure date, but this is the date that will be used for this course - Fragmentation o Idea of a whole story is challenged, is questioned o We see grouping of fragments instead o Metanarrative (master narrative)  story of ourselves, shows us how to think, what we think about ourselves  This idea is challenged in modernist times - Stream of consciousness - Challenge the literary values o What came before the 20’s was being challenged o Do this through formal experimentation  Free verse which has no rhyme scheme or meter  This differs from blank verse which is iambic pentameter with no rhyme scheme (Shakespeare known for this) o Challenge the idea of what a poem is, or what a poem should be - Move toward urban environments o See isolation and alienation become themes that develop during modernist period Responses to “Prufrock”: - Difficult to understand because of fragmentation and allusions o Layers of allusions  Allusions know as intertextuality • Text referring another text in it o If you don’t know the references then that makes it even more difficult to understand - How does yellow fog fit in with love? - Very down on himself o How would you describe Prufrock?  Self-conscious  Timid  Intelligent (in the way he puts in so many references)  Well dressed  Middle aged  limbs are thinning, going bald  Disconnected  very much living in his head, disconnected from reality  Afraid of women  Judgemental Responses to Eliot after hearing him read it: - Has response to the poem changed? o Bit more depressing because of the way he reads it - Who is speaking in this poem? o Prufrock o This makes this a dramatic monologue - In the modernist period this is the way in which poetry was read. It was read very serious. - Repetition is evident and becomes important Analysis of Poem: - The name J. Alfred Prufrock is very serious, maybe a little pretentious (with initial J.), intelligent - Title  Ironic title because this is far from a love song - Is this a love song? o Unrequited love song o Used ironically o Content shows this is not a love song - “Let us go then, you and I,” o Speaker  Prufrock o To whom is he speaking?  The reader  we are being invited into the poem - “Like a patient etherized upon a table” o Motionless, quiet, vulnerable, numb, detached o This is the way he is beginning to describe the evening o Very evocative image o Could be temporary o Really is not a positive perspective - “Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets” o Glass half empty o Quiet street, sense of isolation - “The muttering retreats…oyster shells” o Unappealing area o Oysters are an aphrodisiac food o This is what he recognizes, what he sees - “To lead you to an overwhelming question…” o Who is you? The readers o What is the question - “Oh, do not…visit” o We should ask what the question is o But he is asking us to avoid it, don’t bring it up -
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