What do you feel about the love that is presented in T. S. Eliot’s "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The love that Prufrock has for the woman that he wants to speak to is an overwhelming feeling.  He is so consumed by it that he spends a lot of time thinking about it...so much time that we have the feeling that he thinks about it often throughout his day, and his mind wanders from subject to subject, always coming back to his feelings for her.  During the course of the poem, he discusses walks, the decrepit city, his obession with his low self-image, his loneliness, his unworthiness, the parties that he attends, the fruitlessness of menial, every day tasks, and how distracting women are.  Because he jumps from subject to subject, we get the feeling that he is thinking about her often, getting distracted on other subjects, but always coming back to it.

His love for her is not a pleasant thing; it tortures him.  He would much rather be solitary and alone, like a crab, a "pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas."  He is much more comfortable being alone, but his love for this woman forces him to go to these mundane events, to socialize with these trivial people, and to subject his confidence to their scrutiny.  The parties are probably where she is most of the time, so, he allows himself to feel

"formulated, sprawling on a pin,...pinned and wriggling on the wall"

at these events, all in the hopes of seeing her, and finding the right moment to "disturb the universe" by asking his "overwhelming question" to her.

If you have ever felt intense feelings for someone, but not sure if they returned those feelings, and the not knowing has tortured you, then you will know what Prufrock's love is like.  If you have ever wanted to speak to a crush or find a moment to get the truth of their feelings out, and planned and waited for that moment, but then chickened out, then you know what Prufrock's love is like.  It is a torture to him, something that he feels he cannot live with, and as a result, will probably end up alone.

I hope that those thoughts help a bit;  good luck!

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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