“Existential texts are all style and no substance.”
To what extent do the texts you have studied support this statement?
Existential texts raise undefined questions of our existence through the absurdity of their language. What is represented in these texts merely exposes the surface of their existential ideas. Pablo Nerudo’s ‘Walking Around’ conveys existential ideas which the audience finds it hard to completely comprehend due to the persona’s disconnection and alienation to what is real. ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot demonstrates the persona’s fragmented thoughts on society, conveying the theme of alienation, questioning the meaning of life. Hence, the substance of existential texts allows the reader to question their existence and is formed by the language and techniques used within.
The substance of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ challenges the notions of our existence. Prufrock is haunted by the “overwhelming question” of existence, and what it real. Prufrock is trapped in a world where he cannot escape the angst in his mind, describing it as “the yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-pane”. T.S. Eliot uses images of decay to portray Prufrock’s entrapment. Prufrock then demonstrates his fragmentation to the world by calling himself a “pair of rugged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas”. T.S Eliot uses abstract imagery and the synecdoche of “claws” rather that a crab which suggests a sense of alienation.   Prufrock seems to lack a connection to the real world, and through his insecurity, is unable to achieve what he wants even in his fantasy, “I do not think that they will sing to me.” This suggests the isolation of this character. Additionally, Prufrock seems to suffer delusions of grandeur when he states that “I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be” while at the same time it is suggested that he suffers from a deflated sense of his own significance. Prufrock also questions, “Do I dare...