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Course Hero. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Study Guide." January 4, 2019. Accessed January 22, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Love-Song-of-J-Alfred-Prufrock/.
Course Hero, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Study Guide," January 4, 2019, accessed January 22, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Love-Song-of-J-Alfred-Prufrock/.
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is told from the perspective of the title character.
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is narrated in the present tense. The Speaker occasionally uses the past tense, and also speaks of the future.
A traditional love song describes the speaker's or singer's feelings toward a romantic love interest. Here, "love song" is an example of verbal irony. This is far from being a typical love poem. The title implies the speaker may be preparing to make some kind of romantic declaration—perhaps a marriage proposal—but his ambivalence, depression, and alienation repeatedly prevent him from speaking. Instead, the speaker describes his conflicted feelings about the woman he desires and his sense of alienation from modern society.
J. Alfred Prufrock is a vaguely comical name, and the reader is meant to wonder exactly why Prufrock styles himself that way. Perhaps he imagines that using an initial for his first name imparts a note of elegance. If so, the homely ordinariness of the surname "Prufrock" ruins the effect. Perhaps the speaker merely dislikes his first name. If this is the case, he is unintentionally calling attention to it by using the initial.
This study guide for T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.