From: Carrol Cox
> Prufrock is a virgin and it shames him.
Eliot was a probably still a a virgin when he wrote the poem; but aren't we
reading our knowledge of this into Prufrock?
Remember that Prufrock is older that the poet. And that he has 'known the
arms already'. He also seems to remember (or does he merely imagine?) women
settling pillows by their heads.
It's clear that aspects of physicality repel him, but I don't see how we can
be sure he never experienced it.
Re: interpreting Prufrock in general. It's obvious that when Prufrock says
'Do not ask what is it' and 'it is impossible to say just what I mean', he
is tempting us to do just that. Every reader is going to have a try and find
out what exactly what it was - bar those who have been taught that
everything Eliot wrote is too far above the heads of common mortals anyway
and should thus be genuflected to, not interpreted.
As for the men in shirt sleeves, there is of course one obvious reason for
their leaning out of windows: they don't want to fill the room with their
smoke. This implies the room is not be theirs - and thus seems to support
the view that they've been visiting a brothel.
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