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Critical Analysis of the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Critical Analysis of the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Contrary to what the title implies, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot, is anything but a love song. It is instead quite the opposite. Although the poem is open to several interpretations, after careful reading of the poem, the several underlying themes can be expressed by one central idea. In the poem, the narrator, J. Alfred Prufrock, portrays his disappointment with the society he lives in. By interpreting aspects of imagery, speaker and intended audience, one can easily assess Prufrock's views of life. His interpretation of everyday life can be described as a vacant, bleak, and repetitive.

Early on in the poem, Eliot creates a scene that does not seem very inviting. Prufrock describes his surrounding on an evening out with phrases that insinuate melancholy and depression. In line 6, Prufrock describes the night as "restless" and says that the streets are "tedious arguments of insidious intent". From this the reader can infer a certain discontentment that Prufrock has with his surroundings. He refers to his, and his companions', destination as " one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells". Even though these descriptions leave the reader only approximately 10 lines into the poem, we already have a feeling of restlessness and dissatisfaction from Prufrock about his life.

As the poem continues, the reader is bombarded with even more imagery that conveys Prufrock's discontentment with his surroundings. Prufrock talks of the "yellow fog" that "rubs its back upon the window-panes" and the "yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window panes". He also mentions the "soot that falls from chimneys". Later on in the poem, Prufrock refers to smoke again while describing the streets he is walking on. All this imagery leaves the reader feeling that the place Prufrock is at is dark and hazy and not at all welcoming.

Among the feelings that Prufrock expresses in this poem, no feeling comes across more clearly than his feeling of restlessness and wasted time. We get the feeling that Prufrock, who is aging, would do things differently if given another chance. In lines 49-54, Prufrock asserts his overall boredom with life. He says he has "known them all already, known them all-have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons". ...

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