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Understanding J. Alfred Prufrock and Nick Adams

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1078 words Published: 4th Sep 2017

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Understanding J. Alfred Prufrock and Nick Adams: Emotional Modern Men

Comparing and contrasting two persons demand specific criteria whether they exhibit differences or similarities. J. Alfred Prufrock and Nick Adams at such views, for example, hold equal cataclysms. Their everyday lives in which they suffer from their emotional insufficiencies tend to persuade them to overcome their distinctive miseries. Adams who suffers from errors and psychological mayhem, for instance, perceives various unrehearsed things. Like Adams, Prufrock also undergoes shortfalls as a male individual and carries such psychological burden until the end of his life. Both men suffer at their emotional level and acquire some discernible conflicts that display their anxieties. Although both men struggle against their individual problems, they divulge certain circumstances that shape out their unique conflicts otherwise.

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Based on the chosen readings, Alfred Prufrock does not have an in-depth grasp about his life. His uninteresting and dreary views about life seems dismal that he dwells on miseries at any points of his life. His dull facial expressions and gestures make him appear insipid, unadorned, middle-aged individual. The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot supports this detail and describes Prufrock himself as struggling who lingers on ways to battle against his lack of confidence. He fears making decisions, which influence him to live in a simple life. In fact, the lines 58 through 61 of the poem illustrate the readers such understanding “When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, then how should I begin, to spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume? (Lines 58-61). It appears recognizable that from these poetic lines Prufrock lacks of determination and courage to display his real character. Based on the poem, Prufrock feels discontented with his looks and he fears to be judged. In effect, he is afraid to socialize and approach women.

To understand Nick Adams, readers should tell between Adams’ character and his stressful past by reading Ernest Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River. His disturbing life at war and at his existing moment haunted him much as he suffered from psychological distress. He sought for certainty, which he grew delighted to see the river because for him the river was certain. He believed that the river was definite because it would always be there (Hemingway,). In other words, readers should comprehend that Adams needed the certainty to live unlike his harrowing situations at war. For Adams, his life at war was uncertain whether or not he could survive; that is, he convinced himself that the river would provide him the assurance to live for many years. Hemingway clearly asserted that Adams still suffered from emotional turmoil and that he saw things that haunted him and his life forever. Indeed, the war altered Adams after he had experienced the horrors of his past. The war made Adams a different person and it transformed him. The lines showed how Adams changed him “Now, as he watched the black hopper that was nibbling at the wool of his sock with its four way lip, he realized that they had all turned black from living in the burned-over land. He realized that the fire must have come the year before, but the grasshoppers were all black now. He wondered how long they would stay that way” (Hemingway). It held one truth that Adams totally changed himself after the war. In the end, readers could not deny such truth because any person who saw dreadful incidents in the war might acquire psychological strains.

Furthermore, Adams and Prufrock faced different encounters and horrors in their lives. They contrarily strived to make their lives as they wished to be; however, they could not deny the fact that they felt pain when they continued battling those sufferings. Both demonstrated different angles of hopelessness in the challenge of their lives and experienced a different solitude at every turn. In other words, both characters differed in some respects. Their roles and situations slightly diverged from each other. In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Prufrock articulated “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” (Eliot, Line 51) and wondered how he would make a substantial metamorphosis in the world of his chosen life “like the muttering retreats of restless nights” (Eliot 130). Even though Prufrock wishes to espouse, he fails to redirect himself because he does not have love. He wanted to wed because other people expect him, which made him become sequestered and singlehanded. For Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River, he presented Adams’s ideas that “the river is a completely real” (Adair 144) and that he depicted another thread of circumstance to seclude himself. On the contrary, Eliot conveyed a message similar to Hemingway that life is harsh as it is. Eliot’s Prufrock lost his hope to achieve his dreams and insights, and so did Hemingway’s Adams. However, both represent the modern version men in the Twentieth Century. As Adams displays his modernity through searching answers for his personal issues, Prufrock holds his lack of enthusiasm as a modern man by way of self-indulgence and despair. Although Adams and Prufrock both faced horrors in their lives, their differences could be both valid representations of modem men.

In the end, Nick and Prufrock are two persons of similar yet contrastive experiences. They are men who bear the emotional burden in their lives. Their emotional responses are timeless because most men still suffer from the same dilemmas and views. Although Nick and Prufrock are bodily present in the world, they psychologically become detached and void of true their emotions as they lack the love to save them from their individual problems.

Works Cited

Adair, William. “Landscapes of the Mind: Big Two-Hearted River.” College Literature 4.2 (1977): 144-151.

Eliot, Thomas Stearns. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Poetry Foundation 6.3 (1915): 130-135.

Hemingway, Ernest. Big Two-Hearted River. Xroads.Virginia.Edu. 1995. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.


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