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Analysis and comments on The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

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Comment 50 of 850, added on February 5th, 2009 at 7:47 PM.

This poem is a very difficult poem to analyze but i think that he is just
very afraid of reality and modernism. He doesnt realise that there is much
in life that he is pessimistic against and will never get to feel or see
the joy of because of this attitude.

Chloe from Australia
Comment 49 of 850, added on May 9th, 2007 at 3:59 PM.

this poem really expresses his love............. his fellings

TRACIE from United States
Comment 48 of 850, added on March 1st, 2007 at 4:47 PM.

I agree with Alicia from the U.K. about Prufrock being one who is indeed
very separate and isolated from society. He is afraid to take part, and
before he will ever work up the guts to take part, he will grow old. It's
very sad; he wants to go "through certain half deserted streets" and just
sort of wonder and be romantically content, but he is not one to take part
in life. These mermaids will not sing to him because he is not worthy.
" there will be time, there will be time to prepare a face to meet the
faces that you meet; there will be atime to murder and create..time for you
and time for me"
I think that Prufrock is taking the time that there really is for
granted;he is telling himself he has more time than he really does have as
if to comfort himself in a way. Although there is time, that time passes
but because he is scared to be apart of the world and to make a difference,
Prufrock lets that time pass him by.

Tori from United States
Comment 47 of 850, added on April 16th, 2006 at 4:15 AM.

Do you know if there are any critical essay o Prufrock available on-line? I
need some material for my paper on metaphors and metonymies of the poem. I
have actually nearly finished writing, but I do not have any relevant
source for supporting my arguments...:o/

Luthi from Czech Republic
Comment 46 of 850, added on March 31st, 2006 at 2:49 PM.

Yes it's about growing old, insecurity, loneliness, but it also speaks to
his enormous vanity.

To Prufrock, revealing his feelings is akin to 'squeezing the universe into
a ball', or like 'Lazarus, come from the dead'. He has 'wept and fasted,
wept and prayed' over what? Telling someone he is interested in her???
'Shall I part my hair behind?', so he has 'a bald spot in the middle' of
his hair? Come on, man! Prufrock is so consumed with himself that we learn
nothing about the woman he can't reveal himself to.

The love song of Prufrock is a song to himself.

Casey from United States
Comment 45 of 850, added on March 28th, 2006 at 10:00 PM.

I think this poem is directly affected by the events of the time. You have
to remember that this was written during World War one. As a result I
think Eliot is questioning society and mortality through the poem as a
result of what must have seemed at the time the destruction of humanity.
It seems like he alludes to this idea when talking about the yellow smoke
rubbing along the window panes. This represents the gas being used in the
trenches. It is a physical manifestation of the figurative way war is
creeping into everyday life. I agree with other peoples interpretations,
but I just thought this could be a cause to why Eliot is writting the poem.

keith from United States
Comment 44 of 850, added on March 20th, 2006 at 4:00 PM.

T.S. Eliot came from a very prim and propper society. There was no
"free-thought" when and where he grew up. This "song" tells us of his
desire for that free love. At the beginning he talks about he and his lover
going out and doing what they want (cheap hotels, sawdust
restarunts)something unheard of in his strict society. This society he grew
up with isn't exactly evil. He doesn't hate it, he just wants out. Yet he
see's himself on the outside looking in. His life is counted out by the
polite conversations which are not offensive and aren't productive to the
human reace. (They only thing they talk of is whats "talk of the time".
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons/I have measured out my life
with coffee spoons). He wants to break free but constantly wonders if he
dares(And indeed there will be time/To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I
dare?”). Does he dare? (No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be/Am
an attendant lord, one that will do/To swell a progress, start a scene or
two/Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool/) He doesn't believe he can
because he does not want to take that leadership position. He will be the
man in the background giving "advice" not making the difference. Yet he
desires passion, and free. The mermaids will not sing to him, they do not
call him to be free. Because as he watches them "they" call him back to
reality, and all his dreams drown.

Linana from Lebanon
Comment 43 of 850, added on March 18th, 2006 at 4:28 PM.

After the first reading of this poem, I was under impression that Prufrock
is a very shy person who is afraid of speaking even among the people he
knows. Before saying anything he makes "hundred indecisions," "hundred
visions and revisions," because he worries what others would think about
him. He is very self-aware and prefers to rehearse his owns thoughts, no
to look like a fool when he actually express them aloud ("how should I
begin," "[a]nd how should I presume?").
When I read the poem one more time, I realized that Prufrock's fear has a
different source. He knows that he has wasted most of his life ("I have
measured out my life with coffee spoons"), but he is too scared to do
anything about it. He passed his moment of the "greatness flicker", did not
achieve anything. Now, he is trapped in a silly society, which he calls his
"universe." Prufrock knows he should do something to stop the insignificant
"arty" discussions. The world is undergoing dramatic changes, and the
artist should do more valuable things than "talking of Michelangelo." He
asks himself: "Should I (…) / [h]ave a strength to force the moment to its
crisis?", but unfortunately he does not find the strength. That is why he
is a "modern (anti-)hero", "no prophet," who is afraid and lost in the
chaotic 20th century.
Prufrock is "modern" in his isolation. He keeps his monologue to himself,
indicating that he is not even a part of that 'group'. He feels he doesn't
belong anywhere, and this may be related to the feeling of alienation
characteristic for the Modern period.

Justyna from Poland
Comment 42 of 850, added on March 15th, 2006 at 2:03 PM.

This poem has so much into it, it makes it Amazing. I am writing an essay
on this poem. It is suppose to be only 400-600 words, I think I have now
laped it a second time. I have so much to say and write about. MMM think
professor would mind? Eliot is the King of moderism!!

Tess Young from United States
Comment 41 of 850, added on March 8th, 2006 at 9:19 AM.

I think an essential element is that he is making the decision to continue
to live a solitary life at that very moment. He is imagining the rest of
his life. Not only is he afraid to make any move, but that he is
consciously choosing not to. He is choosing to live life alone.

In the beginning, I feel he is imagining his invitation to this "woman",
and telling himself he has plenty of time for a proposal to "drop a
question on your plate".

He wonders if he should disturb the status quo.

He clearly is uncomfortable at social gatherings, and is imagining himself
becoming more and more self-conscious as he ages. His life measured in
coffe spoons is all of these parties he has known. He hates the social
events, where he is imagining his head upon a platter, and himslef
wriggling on the end of a pin.

He already knows all of the women that are available, although he is
tempted by the bare arms downed with light hair. He imagines them cozied
together and wonders whether to take a chance. He is afraid of aging and

But would it be worth it, all the endless teas and talking, if in the end
he is with someone, who "should say: That is not what I meant at all. That
is not it, at all." This line is so important he repeats it twice, so I
don't think it is a casual comment at a party. I think he is imagining life
with someone with whom he cannot communicate.

He is not Prince Hamlet...he is not the leading man, he is a sidekick, his
character is only in the play as a "Rosencrantz" to further the plotline.

He then imagines life alone, daring even to eat a peach.

Perhaps the mermaids are not the sirens of death. Perhaps the mermaids sing
of love, and that is the love song J. Alfred Prufrock has decided he does
not think he will ever hear. Perhaps we have lingered, in the false
limerance of love, but in the end, we would awaken from that dream and
drown in the misery of an unhappy life.

But that is just my interpretation, and that is the beauty of poetry.

Elise from United States

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Information about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Poet: T.S. Eliot
Poem: 1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Volume: Prufrock and Other Observations
Year: 1917
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 452 times

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