“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a poem through the eyes of a man yearning for a sense of belonging, both with females and society. It is through fear of humiliation and constant postponement that Prufrock is unable to cast off the shell in which he lives and be more than a mere bystander in life. Prufrock eventually resigns himself to the mindset that life and the opportunity to belong has passed him by, leaving him alienated and with an awareness of his own inadequacy.
Identify at least two thesis statements relevant to your text (Use point form) – The greatest barrier to belonging is one’s own self perception – In order for a sense of belonging to be expressed security must be forfeited Explain how your thesis statements relate to your prescribed text. Through the forfeit of security and alteration of self perception characters experience a sense of belonging. The speech of the banished Duke Senior (Act 2) emphasises that although in unfamiliar surroundings away from the security of the court Duke Senior is comfortable in his new setting, accepting the environment which he deems real seeing merit in it unlike the “painted pomp” of the court the forest provides “tongues in trees, sermons in stone, books in running brooks” suggesting wisdom, knowledge, inspiration, and learning.
Characters self perception forms barriers to them belonging to others and their environment. Touchstones alienation due to self perception is evident through his longing for the luxuries and security of the court “When I was at home, I was in a better place” As Corin asks “who calls?” Touchstone replies “yours betters, sir” as Touchstone perceives he is of a higher class then that of mere pastoralists.
The barrier of belonging due to self perception is also highlighted in Orlando’s assertion that “if killed shall do (his) friends no wrong for (he) has none to lament (him)” despite Oliver saying he is “so much in the hearts of many”. Within the forest Orlando “thought that all things had been savage” is taught to act as a gentleman by Duke Senior “your gentleness shall force more than your force move us to gentleness” altering Orlando’s self perception allowing him to display “Kindness nobler even then revenge, and nature stronger than his just occasion, made him give battle to the lioness” re-establishing his family ties with Oliver.
Choose ONE thesis statement and identify and explain the effect of TWO techniques which explore the concept of ‘Belonging’ in your selected text. For belonging to be expressed an individual’s security must be forfeited, Prufrock however is incapable of conveyed through the repetition of phrases “do I dare?” and “there will be time” that emphasise the constant postponement of Prufrock’s decision to change his life, for fear of how he will be perceived, believing the women will mock him about “how his legs and arms are thin!”. Not only this, Prufrock’s isolation and self perception are again emphasised through the imagery “sprawling on a pin” “wriggling on a wall” under the gaze of the women to which he yearns to belong. Prufrock feels so alienated that the mere gaze of the women makes him feel like a worm, ready to be dissected.
The barrier of belonging due to self perception is the cause of Prufrock’s alienation and isolation. Evident as Elliot introduces a couplet juxtaposing the trivial with the magnificent “In the room women come and go Talking of Michelangelo”. Reference is also made to other notable figures “Prince Hamlet” “John the Baptist” who are people that are of a complete contrast to Prufrock himself. Prufrock perceives that he, the trivial, does not belong to such a group, the magnificent, believing he is nothing more than “an attendant lord” “an easy tool…glad to be of use” whom at times could be mistaken for “a fool”.
Write a paragraph that synthesises this information. (Similar to that you would find in an essay) Start with a thesis statement and explain how it is evident in both texts. A barrier to belonging is an individual’s inability to forfeit security. Effectively conveyed through the contrast of Shakespeare’s “As you Like it” and T.S Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock portraying a portrait of failure. Eliot creates a man who is unable to risk his security, full of indecisions “do I dare?” and self justifications “there will be time” that in turn are the factors that prevent him from ever belonging.
The personification of death “I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat and snicker” epitomizes Prufrock’s life, illustrating death has seen how pathetic Prufrock’s life is, with him nothing more than a bystander in life, causing death to “snicker”. Prufrock has remained indecisive, rejecting a life in which he can belong, of which he has seen brief visionary glimpses. But he has allowed himself to be recalled by “human voices” to the drabness and futility of the present. As you Like it effectively contrasts The love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as characters are able to risk security as Duke Senior is cast into exile to an unfamiliar world, it is within the forest that he expresses true feelings of belonging finding “good in everything”. The same can be said for Rosalind, Orlando, Celia and Oliver who within the forest all find true love.
The barrier of self perception can cause alienation or, when altered, can allow belonging to be expressed to oneself and others. Through the alteration of self perception Rosalind assumes the role of Ganymede, empowering her to express attributes normally reserved for that of males of the time, and Orlando becoming learned “with a kindness nobler even then revenge” as he battles the lioness to save his brother, re-establishing their relationship. It is through the risk of security and a change in which characters view themselves that As you Like it creates a world in which everyone belongs, whether it be to each other or their surroundings. Contrasted Prufrock’s failure to alter his own self perception, leaving him alienated with an awareness of his own inadequacy.