How and why is "The Love Sone of J. Alfred Prufrock" a "love song"? I have read this poem several times before, but my professor asked us to figure out why it is called the...

How and why is "The Love Sone of J. Alfred Prufrock" a "love song"?

I have read this poem several times before, but my professor asked us to figure out why it is called the "love song"of J. Alfred Prufrock. I am not entirely sure why. Can anyone explain, please?

Asked on by band-aid

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kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

In the case of this particular piece of literature, it is a poem. Poems used to be sung quite often in history, so one reason this would be appropriately titled is because it is simply that: a poem and poems used to be sung. 

Also, because it contains the thoughts of a single speaker, it is considered lyric poetry.  Lyric poetry was often sung.  In this day and age, we typcially associate lyrics with songs.  Lyrics are the words to songs (our modern-day definition).  Lyric poetry, however, is NOT necessarily sung, but it contains the thoughts and feelings of a single speaker.  Such is the case for this poem.

Finally, this could be a love song because it is about the misfortunes in love of the speaker of the poem, Alfred J. Prufrock.  Prufrock is bemoaning his lack of luck in love.  He is extremely shy and awkward with women and does not know how to best approach them.  He cannot overcome his own fears of rejection, etc., to take the risk in approaching them, although he dreams of doing so.  Love songs, as we all know and as the last editor pointed out, are not always happy, and this "love song" is one of these sad love songs.

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jessecreations's profile pic

jessecreations | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Consider this:  not all love songs are happy.  Sometimes we hear love songs written to absent lovers, or lovers who have left, or died.

 In this case, I have always thought of it as being ironic, that he would write a love song which was really just a long monologue about the way his life has turned out so miserably.  In the song, he laments the lack of relationships he has had, the lack of adventure and daring in his life.  He also talks about women a lot, but in ways that show he never knew how to relate to them in the first place.

Prufrock is socially awkward, to be sure.  In his mind, he cannot compose a traditional love song, because he has never been too good with the ladies.  So instead, he became the first emo, and wrote a love song about sadness, and being alone.

 

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