In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” one rather fascinating line referenced the way we actually view media. On the top of page 5, T.S. Eliot writes, “…a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen.” Now a magic lantern acted as a primitive form of image projection back then, and it would, quite inaccurately, represent real things. Who knew that after several reinventions of visual media, a device would be created that could count, index, and manipulate the real. Either accurately or poorly, these types of devices have tried to represent the real.
Representations. Representations or allusions, are quintessential to art and poetry in general. In this poem, many lines allude to ideas, concepts, or actual things including: the lines about the “yellow smoke” referencing a cat, the many allusions to his loneliness by describing the mundane settings, the line saying, “…scuttling across floors of silent seas” pointing to crabs (many think this describes his inaction since crabs always move sideways) and loneliness, and very lastly, the image of waking up from a fantasy or dream at the end. Representations in poetry serve to move away from the real to highlight contrast or to open interpretation. What then is the purpose of representation in digital?