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Re: Wearing one's trousers rolled

Posted by Graham Cambray on February 19, 2009 at 11:00

In Reply to: Wearing one's trousers rolled posted by Atabraiz on February 19, 2009 at 09:13:

: What is the meaning of 'wearing one's trousers rolled'? It appears in T.S Eliot's Prufrock, along with 'do i dare to eat the peach?' To eat the peach could actually be a 'daring' thing to do in old age when one's teeth are not strong enough ... but I can't understand the rolled trousers. Is it because of shrunken bones?

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I'm not qualified to unravel Eliot's lines, but others have published commentaries. Various interpretations vie with each other, but at
http://www.answers.com/topic/the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock-poem-7 you will find:

"With this he creates yet another ridiculous image of himself with his hair slicked to cover his bald spot, trousers cuffed in youthful fashion, considering the act of high daring of eating a peach in easily stained white slacks."

I don't put the above passage forward as an authoritative commentary, but just to show that a range of interpretations are possible.

We often forget that Eliot was only in his twenties when he wrote this (so he wasn't writing from personal experience of middle or old age) and had only been in the UK (he was born in the US) for about a year when the poem was first published. (GC)