Comparative Essay: The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot and Afternoons and Coffee Spoons by The Crash Test Dummies
Most people would expect that all poetry should be close to the same thing if it were to have the same theme, but in fact, although there are many similarities, there can also be many differences in these poems. Upon comparison of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Afternoons and Coffee Spoons, we see just this. These two poems seem similar because of their same theme of alienation but they differ when it comes to content and tone.
The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Afternoons and Coffee Spoons share the same theme of alienation. This is seen in the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock in lines 73 – 74. Prufrock compares himself to a crab saying “I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” This metaphor shows alienation because crabs have crusty shells that live below sea level, representing Prufrock’s separation from society. Afternoons and Coffee Spoons portrays this also, the narrator says in lines 7 – 10 “Times when the day is like a play by Sartre, when it seems a days bookburning’s in perfect order – I gave the doctor my descriptions, I tried to stick to my prescriptions.” The narrator has separated himself from society due to an illness. Also, in line 7, we see he is comparing his day to a “play by Sartre” Sartre’s most infamous play was “No Exit”, which is about the hell of humanity. Maybe the narrator doesn’t mind being separated from this type of hell. Both characters in these poems display the theme alienation.
On The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eliot reveals the thoughts and feelings of the poems subject, Prufrock, in a way that Prufrock could not have articulated himself, since it is the poems objective to illustrate Prufrocks insecurity. By not commenting directly and allowing the reader to draw conclusions from clues given in dramatic monologue, Eliot ...
However, both poems lack similarity in tone. Although both poems theme is alienation, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’s tone is rather melancholy. This is demonstrated in the word choice when Eliot describes the setting in lines 4 – 9, he says “Let us go, though certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats, of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels, and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells, streets that follow like a tedious argument of insidious intent.” These words like “half-deserted, muttering, restless, tedious, insidious” portray this tone. But on the other hand, in Afternoons and Coffee Spoons the tone is rueful. It’s as if the author is now having these health problems and is now seeing his life measured out and that he is getting older. In lines 16 and 17 we see this. “Maybe if I could do a play-by-playback, I could change the test results that I will get back.” The tones in the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Afternoons and Coffee Spoons are not similar.
The other difference between the two poems is contrast in content. In The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock the character consistently shows the inability to make decisions. His indecisiveness is displayed in lines 45 – 48. Prufrock says, “Do I dare disturb the universe? In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” This poems content has a lot to do with Prufrock’s incapability to make decisions and how he is beginning to realize that his life is being measured out. However, in Afternoons and Coffee Spoons the narrator says in lines 18 – 22 “I gave the doctor my description, I tried to stick to my prescriptions…someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline, someday I’ll wear pyjamas in the daytime.” The narrator isn’t as focused as Prufrock is about avoiding decision-making. This guy just wants more time before he starts to lose his hair and more likely before his illness starts to worsen. The content in these two poems is very contrasting.
So as we can see, even if two poems have the same theme, they can still be very contrasting. In The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and Afternoons and Coffee Spoons, they share the theme of Alienation, but do not have similar tone or content.
The Road Not Taken" I chose to do a poetry explication on Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." I enjoyed this poem and have read many poems written by him. First, I just want to give a little background information on him. Robert Frost was one of the most inspiring and loved poets of the twentieth century. His work is concentrated on the New England Landscape. Most of the poems written by ...