The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Prufrock, Paralysis, and Pieces of the Modern City

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" depicts an image of the modern city that is marked by paralysis, alienation, decay, and repression. Prufrock is a modern man who can see the superficiality of the social values of middle class society, and yet lacks the will to break away from them and act on his desires. He can see the potential happiness that action would bring- the possible joy, love, and companionship - but is paralyzed and unable to perform any necessary action. Prufrock critiques modern society as a place where superficial social rituals prevail and where individuals are repressed, alienated, and detached from meaningful existence. The poem is narrated by a persona, Prufrock, who takes his audience not on a physical journey but rather one into his own mind, where he discloses his own desires yet ultimately accepts his own indecision and paralysis. Prufrock reveals his mental vision of urban life though fragmented and juxtaposed images which mirror the fragments of the ruined city.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is written in the form of dramatic monologue, revealing the city to the reader through the representation of Prufrock's psyche. Prufrock invites his audience to walk with him...

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