Creative Writing--T.S. Eliot The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock--Obituary of No Consequence?
While taking Literature, my Professor loved to challenge her students. One of our assignments was to write a newspaper obituary for J. Alfred Prufrock based on T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
We had to draw from quotes from the poem, hence the page numbers. The Bibliography will be posted at the end of this article.
I hope you enjoy reading the obituary I wrote, titled "Obituary of No Consequence?"
Obituary of No Consequence?
J. Alfred Prufrock, age 90, of 666 Inferno Place, Florence, Italy was found dead in his home. Born in 9 Good Friday Road on September 9, 1602 (at the end of the Italian Renaissance) he spent his life as a consultant to others. Described by those he worked for as, “…an attendant lord….Advise the prince…glad to be of use…Politic, cautious, and meticulous….but a bit obtuse.” (1219)
Very few had known him yet he was often seen walking through the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall in Florence and where the original statue of David stood) staring briefly at Michelangelo’s statue of David—a marble statue of the biblical hero David, nude and in male perfection. “In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.” (1218) Unlike Michelangelo’s David, J.Alfred Prufrock, described by onlookers, had a “bald spot in the middle of hair…necktie rich and modest…coat… collar mounting firmly to the chin…his arms and legs are thin!” (1218)
Sadly, from what information this paper was given—which was very little, he lived in a self hell. Like Dante, he traveled to through the final gate, the ninth gate—the gate of hopelessness where one cannot travel back to the plane of the living. One woman told us that often he would look at her from afar in a seemingly heavy thought, yet never approached her. “Do I dare?...Beneath the music from a further room….have known them all….when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall….have known the arms already, known them all—Arms that are braceleted and white and bare..” (1218) “….And in short I was afraid.” (1219) Perhaps he thought that there would be more time. “And indeed there will be time.”
Survived only by his thoughts and wretchedly, he truly never lived life. And although it is not customary for this paper to spend time to find out about a person that was of no consequence the Editors decided that this obituary could serve as a community service, to let the readers know life is short (regardless of age) and life should be lived to the fullest. Readers should live life like an obituary that other readers can read stating in short “that person truly lived life.” With that said, perhaps J.Alfred Prufrock of sorts served a purpose, a sort of “Lazarus, come from the dead,” (1219) to warn others not to live the sort of life he did—take chances, do not fear, and know there may not always be time, so live in the moment.
Eliot, T.S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Boston: St Martin/Bedford, 2011. 1216-1220.