TheBig Two-Hearted River is a short tale done by Ernest Hemingwaydescribing the destructive aspects of war. It features a singleprotagonist i.e. Nick Adams who comes back from war to his childhoodfishing terrain. The story goes on to explore the damaging aspects ofwar that is later counteracted by the restorative and reformativequalities of nature. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a poemdone by T.S. Eliot examining the tortured spirit of a modern man i.e.eloquent, emotional, overeducated, and neurotically stilted. Theprotagonist i.e. Prufrock looks to be talking to a prospective loverwhom he wants to consummate their relation. The two works involveprotagonists who are men and in some way characterize the modern man.Though the literature works are from different authors and genre, theprotagonists’ characters seem to suggest some similarities. Anin-depth analysis of the two works will help to illustrate the aboveaspects. Thepaper will dwell on exploring the similarities and differences ofboth men. In addition to that, outlining the representation of modernman is a major undertaking within this paper.
Asportrayed in both works, Prufrock and Nick are physically existent inthe world. However, both are completely disjointed from God, nature,and the rest of the people. As elaborated throughout the tale, Nickseems to be isolated and alone. He does not appear to blend well withnature. For instance, through his cigarette smoke, he pollutes theair and the river. In some instance, he rips away the surroundingvegetation since it made him more comfortable. In addition to that,the imagery means in which he kills the fish suggests that he canhardly condone nature. On the other hand, Prufrock seems to have losthope. He deems himself insignificant to this world. As depictedwithin the story, Prufrock is also isolated and alone. He wants tomarry to because it is what is anticipated of him. Though he will notbe physically alone, the spiritual loneliness still exists. Livingwithout love is a damning behavior which clearly illustratesPrufrock’s isolation from the spiritual world. Both men are void ofreal emotion. The neither experience nor show love to nature or evenother people. The two can be deemed to exist in wasteland i.e. adisolate place. Though they live among many people, they are devoidof relations to God, the world and one another [CITATION Eli15 l 1033 ].
Thoughboth men are isolated from the real world, Nick embraces nature toheal. Nick’s tale exemplifies the healing quality of nature.Throughout the war period, Nick was distanced from nature and hadforgotten its power. But now that he was back, he desired to regainhis fitness once more. As entailed in both works, Nick had theenthusiasm to regain his normal self. As exemplified by the tale,Nick embarks on a trip up the river to find his former self. The twomen show different aspects of life. As Prufrock continuously blamedeverything in the world, Nick was more than willing to regain hisformer self. Nick went through a transformation to establish himselfas a significant figure in the world [ CITATION Ern25 l 1033 ].
Representationof the Modern man
Modernismis regarded as a philosophical movement whereby cultural trendschanged widely transforming the western society during the lateryears of the 19thand early years of the 20thcenturies. The two literary books represent the modern man in severalaspects. Prufrock clearly epitomizes the modern man i.e. neurotic,articulate, poetic, sensitive and overeducated. He continuallycogitates over missed prospects. In addition to that, he continues toquestion the opposite sex. He depicts the modern man i.e. not silentand strong but accessible and quite vulnerable. By openly showingvulnerability and disillusionment, Prufrock portrays the modern man.He is not a strong, conquering alpha man. Instead, he portrays apathetic individual striving to figure out where his manhood wentastray. He is also obsessed with age and appearance and exhibitslimited communication skills typical characteristics of the modernman. For instance, his romantic zeal is detracted by his age. Allthese aspects lead him to perpetual hatred of humanity and personalisolation. Nick, on the other hand, is disillusioned and emotionallywounded from World War I. He goes on a trip in an attempt to returnto basics i.e. regain his simple life. After a grueling war, Nick wascovered with bad memories that had detracted his progress.
Livingin the wasteland is a common feature among many humankind. In thatstate, people lack love, are less sensitive, full of depression andend up losing hope. Nick and Prufrock were detached from worldlyhappenings. In other words, they were physically present butemotionally detached from the world. In such as a condition,appreciating God, nature as well as other people is quite hard. Asdemonstrated by the two works, modern man is characterized bydisillusionment and emotional wounds that normally detract him fromprogress. Instead of being strong and conquering, they are weak andobsessed with little things. Nick undergoes a transformation thatshould be essential for any disillusioned individual. It is quitevital to stay attached with one another, nature and God or elsesuffer the consequences that are detrimental to progress.
Eliot, T.S. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. New York, 1915.
Hemingway, Ernest. Big Two-Hearted River: Part I and Part II. Big Two-Hearted River: Part I and Part II. 1925.