by T.S. Eliot
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Why Do We Hate Love?
- Robert Firestone, Ph.D.
Loving another person and accepting love from another person can sometimes be a very painful experience. In his article, “Why Do We Hate Love,” Robert Firestone, Ph.D. explains the psychology behind this phenomenon.Pair “Why Do We Hate Love?” with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and ask students to discuss how people react to love. Why do romance and intimacy invoke fear and anxiety, as seen in Eliot’s poem?
- James Joyce
"Araby" (1914) is a classic coming-of-age story written by James Joyce. It touches on themes of disillusionment and the consequences of idealism.Pair “Araby” with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and ask students to analyze the thematic similarities, and compose with an original definition of Modernist literature.
Heart to Heart
- Rita Dove
In this poem, contemporary American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove reinvents a common symbol--the heart--and in doing so, shows us what it means to be human.Pair “Heart to Heart” with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and ask students to compare and contrast each poem’s message about human nature, love, and desire. How is contemporary poetry different from modernist poetry?
- Katherine Mansfield
In "Miss Brill," a woman’s day in the park has unexpected emotional consequences.Pair “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” with “Miss Brill” and ask students to compare these two Modern texts. Are there any similar themes or ideas which emerge from both texts?
Excerpts from 'Song of Myself': 1, 2, 6, 52
- Walt Whitman
Written by American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892), the father of free verse, this epic, “Song of Myself,” contains 52 verses, has strong influence from the transcendental movement, and is regarded as one of the greatest depictions of the American experience.Pair “Song of Myself” with “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” to contrast the idea of identity and self in times of conflict. Think about the how each poem conveys major ideas and themes. How do the themes compare? What are the major contrasts within each theme?
The Lost Generation
- Mike Kubic
“The Lost Generation” describes the political and social climate of a period of American history in which numerous highly celebrated authors and artists from the United States grew disillusioned with and disavowed their home country.Pair “The Lost Generation” with the “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” and have students discuss how the lyricism of the poem supports or undermines the author’s inclusion of Eliot as a member of the literary elite who turned against their home country. The poem is identified as an embodiment of the literary movement of Modernism for its expression of disillusionment and a sense of being isolated from the outside world and from a unified, concrete sense of self. How does this relate to the political endorsements and actions described in the article?
Here We Aren't, So Quickly
- Jonathan Safran Foer
In this avant-garde short story, a man reflects on his life and his relationship with his family.Pair “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly” with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and ask students to compare and contrast the themes of time and love in the two texts. How does the chronological order of the poem and the short story compare? Why do you think the authors chose to write these two texts with that chronological order? What are the similarities and differences between how the narrators in the two texts feel about their partners?