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Imagery in the Two Poems


Poets use imagery as a powerful tool to conjure up vivid mental images in the readers’ imaginations. By carefully choosing and creating their imagery, poets may effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas. The essay will examine the use of imagery in two poems, “Perfect Dress” by Maria de los Santos and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. The subjects of both poems are conveyed by using vivid and evocative images that also help to create a certain atmosphere. The essay will examine how each significant image adds to the overall impact of the poem and debate if the use of imagery is effective. We may get a better understanding of how imagery can convey meaning and have a powerful emotional impact on the reader by analyzing these two poems.

Imagery in the Two Poems

Imagery is a crucial component of poetry that aids in the reader’s ability to visualize and comprehend the poet’s message. T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Marisa de los Santos’ “Perfect Dress” are two examples of poetry that use imagery well to convey their subjects. In J. Alfred Rufrock’s song “The Love Song,” Eliot used a variety of images to explore the themes of enduring adversity and the fear of aging. The image of the “yellоw fоg” that creeps down the streets like a “pаtient ethеrized uрon а tаble” (Eliot 15–16) captures Rufrock’s constant questioning and anxiety about life. His illustration conveys a sense of aging and aging that characterizes the urban landscape of the poem. He shouts that the city streets are obscured by fog, which makes them impossible to navigate and gives off a sense of bewilderment. The fog is described as “rubbing its back upon the window panes,” implying that it is filthy and smog-like, and the image also suggests pollution and decay (Eliot 15).

The poem’s description of “mermaids singing each to each” (Eliot 125) is another important image. His image depicts the seductive allure of the world, which Rufrock yearns for but feels he is unable to achieve. The use of these and other images in the poem emphasizes Rufrock’s sense of isolation from the world around him. Both poems’ use of imagery gives them a dreamy, surreal character that serves to highlight the protagonist’s inner existence and stress the gap between it and the outer world. Mermaids are mythical beings associated with beauty and enchantment, and their singing evokes a sense of mystical awe. The loneliness and alienation of the protagonist are further emphasized by the contrast between the bizarre imagery and the grim reality of the remainder of the poem. A potent metaphor for the protagonist’s sense of helplessness and isolation is the image of him as “a patient ethеrized up on a table” (Eliot 3). His portrayal suggests that the antagonist is completely passive and disconnected from the world around him, much like a patient who has been put to sleep. The protagonist’s experience is highlighted by the medical language, which also emphasizes his sense of alienation and impersonation.

Maria de los Santos employs colorful imagery in “Perfect Dress” to communicate the theme of the yearning for beauty and perfection. The poem is a confession of the narrator’s desire to be admirable and well-liked by others. The poem’s imagery is vibrant and evocative throughout, bringing the narrator’s aspirations and ambitions to life. The poem begins with a student’s journal entry about wanting to awaken one day unexpectedly beautiful. His confession sets the tone for the poem and emphasizes how everyone wants to seem attractive. The author’s ambition for an idealized version of beauty is shown in the description of the character as “cobalt-eyed, hair puddling like cognac,” and “curved and light-drenched” (de los Santos 1080). The illustration of the “girl in the photograph” and the “beach than the beach” shows how intense the narrator’s longing for physical beauty is.

The idea of perfection also plays a role in the poem’s imagery. She longs to “balance a head like a Fauxbergé egg on the longest, most elegant neck” and “step, with incandescent shoulders, into my perfect evening,” according to the narrator. Similar images of beauty and perfection are present in the descriptions of the author’s search for the ideal dress (de los Santos 1080). He desires “floor-length plum chârmeuse” and the “ordinary miracle, the falling away of everything wrong,” according to the narrator. These images emphasize the author’s pursuit of perfection and the extent to which she will go to do so (de los Santos 1080). He imagined that descriptions of beauty and perfection would serve to reinforce the narrator’s yearning for these things and show how people may acquire physical attractiveness (de los Santos 1080). The illustration also emphasizes the value of physical beauty in society and how it may affect a person’s perception of their own value.

Effectiveness of Imagery Choices in the Poem

I believe that both poems’ imagery choices effectively portray their respective themes and messages. The use of energetic and vivid imagery contributes to the creation of an atmosphere and mood that draws the reader into the poem’s world. The images of a “yellow fog” and a “ethеrized patient” in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” represent the protaganist’s feelings of impotence and loneliness while also evoking a sense of disappointment and disappointment. Similar to this, the image of “mermaids singing” gives the poem a surreal and dreamlike quality, emphasizing the gap between reality and the protagonist’s inner world.

The use of imagery is similarly effective in conveying the theme of the quest for beauty and perfection in “Perfect Dress.” The reader feels need and want as a result of the descriptions of beauty and refinement, such as “cobalt-eyed” and “hair puddling like cognac.” It displays the narrator’s desire for excellence. The repeated allusions to the pursuit of the ideal beauty and elegance serve to reinforce this theme as the narrator strives to reach that state. Metaphors and symbolism are essential for conveying complex ideas and emotions in poems. Eliot’s use of the metaphor of a “patient ethеrized upon a table” does more than just support the opponents. The poem captures girls’ and women’s yearning to be attractive. She adopts a girl’s goals, conception of beauty, and way of knowing that one day she too will experience the ideal evening in the ideal attire. The poem discusses how magazines, particularly in this day and age of social media, may influence a girl’s perception of her body. She also talks on how our culture’s misinterpretation of the idea of perfection has led to low self-esteem in women.


A powerful tool for poets to express their themes and messages is imagery. The poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot and “Perfect Dress” by Maria de los Santos show how effective imagery is in conveying complex emotions and ideas. Vivid and surreal images help to create a sense of isolation, disillusionment, and decay in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In contrast, beauty and elegance in “Perfect Dress” evoke a sense of yearning and a desire for perfection. The imagery in both poems also acts as a kind of connection with the reader by evoking universally relatable feelings and ideas. Poets may communicate their messages clearly and effectively by employing imagery to create powerful and evocative descriptions. Both poems’ metaphors and symbolism enable a deeper exploration of the themes, adding layers of complexity to the work. A fundamental aspect of poetry is the use of imagery, which enables a deeper and more thoughtful exploration of themes and ideas.

Work Cited

de los Santos, Marisa. “Perfect Dress.” 2013, pp. 1080

EEliot, T. S. (2021). The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Strelbytskyy Multimedia Publishing.


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