The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Questions and Answers
by T. S. Eliot

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How does T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" exemplify Modernism?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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This poem presents the story of a man and his terrible fear of rejection, his fear of being judged by others, and his ultimate choice to live alone rather than make himself vulnerable in love (it is, after all, a "love song"). Prufrock's horrible feeling of alienation from everyone around him and his sense of being unable to construct a real and lasting connection with anyone help to situate this poem within the Modernist tradition. At the party to which he takes the woman for whom he cares, he says that "the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo." In other words, no one talks about anything personal or truly meaningful; they only talk about things that will make them seem intelligent or cultured. No one forges real connection; people are only concerned with appearances (another Modernist move). He imagines what the watchers are saying about him, talking about how thin his hair is getting, how thin his arms and legs are. He imagines that he is an insect, "pinned and wriggling on...

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