How does T.S Eliot influence our response to Prufrock in his social and cultural isolation and how effective is he in doing this?
Eliot has effectively influenced and enforced the fact that J. Alfred Prufrock is an isolated individual in society both socially and culturally. He achieves this outcome through the extensive use of an array of language features and devices, which relate directly and indirectly to the structure demonstrated in the poem. The poem is an inquest into the mind of Prufrock, who is seemly brought across as an ineffectual communicator who struggles to come to terms with his place in society. The techniques Eliot disposes throughout the poem ineffectively illustrate Prufrock’s social reclusion and cultural detachment.
Prufrock’s social and cultural isolation is representational of a combination of his personal attributes and the part they play in holding him back from realising his true potential in life. His bleak view on life is impacted by his indecisive nature where he is always thinking over everything and never acting on impulse. These kinds of occurrences in Prufrock’s mind establish a well-built barrier separating himself, the hopeless individual, from all aspects of society. Eliot conveys these notions to the reader through the development of Prufrock’s introspective identity. Eliot’s description of this character’s persona relies upon the figurative language devices to effectively communicate the idea of social and cultural isolation.
The epigraph from Dante’s Inferno inserted at the beginning of ‘Prufrock’ expresses Eliot’s decision to contribute to the socially isolated perspective. It entails a descriptive voice of a person damned in hell who becomes a symbol of Prufrock’s ideal listener. This is a secretive being that is just at unease to the situation as the reader, and would keep to themselves the content of Prufrock’s current confessions. As such a concerned being does not exist, Prufrock is forced be complacent with...