“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S., Elliot is a poem about how the speaker is worried about how other people view him and more importantly, how his lover sees him. The theme of the poem overall is love, a love that drives the speaker crazy. This causes him to be very indecisive about odd things. As an example the speaker asks if he “shall part [his] hair behind? Do I dare eat a peach?” Asking if he should dare eat a peach seems odd but in his defense he is stricken with love for a person and only wants to please them. The beauty of this poem is that it shows the thought process of a person who is in love but doesn’t outright say that the speaker loves the person the poem is meant for. It shows the love by being indecisive. This is why the theme of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is about love.

3 thoughts on ““The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

  1. I really like this analysis of the poem. I agree that love is a major theme in the poem; however, I think it is worth mentioning that time is also a major theme. The poem overall gives incite into the character of the speaker. The speaker is very timid about most activities in life and lets his love for another dictate his life. Time passes in the poem and the speaker becomes less timid and self-conscious but by then he is old man. The speaker is indecisive in not only the fact that he lets love dictate his actions but also because he avoids actions that lead to future decisions. This is why he leads a very mundane life.

  2. I completely agree that the speaker is much too indecisive to make move. Although he is worried on how others may see him in certain instances, he never gets the courage needed to actually find that out. And after growing old “with a bald spot in the middle of my hair” he’s wasted too much time to even have that option and becomes a bystander in the background. And in the end your were right; love is about being indecisive.

  3. I love that you bring up the line that makes him sound old by saying “with a bald spot in the middle of my hair”. After looking at the comic, I was surprised by the artist’s interpretation of Prufrock. In this version, although he is two dimensional, he seems to be a much more attractive person than I had envisioned in my head. Due to the derogatory way that he describes himself in the poem, including comparing himself to a a crab, thinking people are talking negatively about him, and calling himself “obtuse”, “meticulous”, and “almost the Fool”.
    After looking at Prufrock in the comic, I was very surprised and it got me thinking. Prufrock seems quite a bit younger than I imagined him. I think the bald spot on his head is probably not from age at all, rather, stress that results from his crippling anxiety. This also sort of argues that he must have some sort of disorder, because all of his worries about being past his prime and other aspects concerning his appearance. As a reader, the mental image of Prufrock (for me) was so different because of how harshly he described himself. I think that my mental interpretation of him was closer to how he perceived himself although he was actually a pretty decent looking person all because of his disorder, whatever it may be.

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