Was it worth any of that?

October 14, 2010

My main complaint with Eliot is how he manages to turn a simple thought into an insufferable wall of text.  After condensing my thoughts on “The Waste Land” into a glorified blog entry that could have saved your time, and my reputation and grade if I just wrote “tl;dr”, I decided to give him another shot with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and see if he sucks less here.  I mean the title reminds me of J. Edgar Hoover, how bad can it be? I mean we’re talking about a guy like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11IKsNS8xOk

No, devoted(?) readers, truth is that Eliot has gone back and done it again! Another wall of text with a b.s. epigraph.  It’s cool, though, since the assignment this time wasn’t to read and analyze the poem, but rather what a motif in it was.  And that motif is the repeated line “And would it have been worth it, after all…” which begins two seperate stanzas.  In the context of the poem, it’s about the speaker being afraid of a woman he admires.

This line begins a list of questions, wherein he grapples with the value of his attempts at courtship.  These are feelings that every man has, whether they admit it or not.  Some people care more for the chase than the kill.  Perhaps the narrator is one of those people, but instead of setting himself up for disappointment, wasted time, or being a lady killer he stops himself.  After all, courtship is a serious game that nobody should engage in without an intent to follow up on the promises they make.  Maybe he is a liar? Maybe just a coward? Is there a difference, in love? Perhaps not, but T. S. Eliot’s wordiness works for the poem here, making the narrator an unlikeable worry wart, overanalyzing everything before and after his insecurities happen.  I can’t help but wonder if Eliot had this trouble, too? Being so dramatic and critical of everything in his own life that he’d lose interest in women he thought he fancied, or drove them away by being a long winded drama queen (or perhaps the women may have even thought him a queen, with his sensitivity and choice of words (read: paragraphs)).  The narrator may perhaps be the most self-hating character I’ve encountered in literature since Holden Caulfield or Judas Iscariot!

I suppose this needs a good conclusion, and so my dear Prufrock I can offer you this: if you have to ask, you’ll never know.

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2 Responses to “Was it worth any of that?”

  1.   beverly gross Says:

    spirited, certainly. and amusing
    glad to see you do this second take.

    but where’s the new stuff? Hemingway? Persepolis?–don’t lose it now.

  2.   pmiss100 Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, I was testing the waters with this more informal style so I only put out two entries. I’ve got similarly fashioned drafts of the others which I will wrap up soon and get caught up with.

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