The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

A Refreshing Analysis of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

To say that "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is a typical romantic ode to the wonders of love, as the title may suggest, is quite far from the truth. To the contrary, this poem enters the straggling mind of J. Alfred Prufrock, a man plagued with irresolution, and because of this irresolution will probably never realistically be in love with a woman. "Love Song" is a dive into Prufrock's inconsistent thought processes, and the foggy workings of his less-than-optimistic mind. Through bleak imagery, a wavering tone that feels timeless, and carefully connoted diction, T.S. Eliot portrays J. Alfred Prufrock as an uneasy, indecisive, and ultimately scared man.

The first few lines of the poem set the scene as to what kind of content Prufrock has to offer. He uses a simile in comparing the evening, "spread out against the sky," to "a patient etherized upon a table" (2-3). It's a fairly unappealing comparison, and it puts an awkward image in the reader's mind from the beginning. He goes on to set the scene of a kind of tour through a city-like atmosphere: "Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets...of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels and sawdust...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 944 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7601 literature essays, 2153 sample college application essays, 318 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in