Literary Reflections–Hemingway and Eliot

This last week I got to teach Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Heminway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” In a semester full of inspiring literary works, perhaps these two are among the most inspiring, not only because of their subject matter but also in terms of their composition and innovation. No matter how depressing “Snows” is, Harry’s regret that he never wrote what truly mattered and continual remembering of what he never wrote about underscores the need to do today whatever it is that we all want to do someday. The same theme permeates “Prufrock,” with the continual repetition of “There will be time,” “Do I dare?” and “Would it have been worth it all?” because there will never be time if we do not dare that it may be worth it to risk it all. It is so much easier to choose the safe road that leads to comfort, but as “Harry’s” regrets show, that comfort is the death of ambition, slowly suffocating his talent until in the end, all he had left was regret. So, rather than “measuring out my life with coffee spoons,” I choose “to descend the stair” in hopes that some day the mermaids will sing to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s