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Bruce Haymans How Old is Prufrock - Does He Want to Get Married

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It is really quite essential to state that Hayman concludes that it is more of a sexual proposition than a marriage proposal because “ Prufrock seems to know so little about the woman or even care about her” and that “ she has no name, no distinguishable face, no personality, and no past history” (62). With regards to the second question as to whether Prufrock is a young man or a middle-aged man, Hayman posits the following reasons. Hayman cites the differing views of Eliot’ s critics with regards to Prufrock’ s age.

John Crowe Ransom, A.G. George, Lyndall Gordon, George Williamson, and Grover Smith all agree that Prufrock is a middle-aged man, while Elisabeth Schneider says he is a young man and Stephen Spender says he is of uncertain age. Eliot however revealed later that “ Prufrock was partly a forty-year-old man and partly himself” (62). Hayman continues to present evidences to Prufrock’ s being a middle-aged man namely: 1. Prufrock refers to himself as aging; 2. He describes himself with middle-aged qualities; 3. He emphasizes on his considerable knowledge; 4. He uses the present perfect tense; and 5.

He refers to himself as the middle-aged Hamlet. On being a young man, Hayman poses the following reasons: 1. Prufrock shows freshness and innocence in his worrying; 2. He has no past to refer to; 3. His mind is focused mainly on the present and the future; 4. His reference to himself as old is phrased in the future tense; 5. He shows immaturity; 6. His claims to knowledge are wildly exaggerated; and 7. He suffers from unbearable self-consciousness. Thus, in response to the second question, Hayman finds Prufrock a young man because he “ has no past, that he is innocently and bewilderingly inexperienced, and that he prematurely leaps to the fatalistic conclusion that he will grow old unloved” (68). Reading and re-reading the article of Bruce Hayman is illuminating.

As I have presented in the first paragraph, his analysis is comprehensive. He leaves no room for doubt by presenting all aspects of the possible answers to the two questions before presenting his own stand on the issues.

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