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

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What is an example of alienation in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

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Joann Wentworth eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Poor Prufrock—all he wants is a woman to love, but he can't muster up the courage to talk one! He's too stuck in his head, self-conscious, and awkward, and he overthinks everything.

The repetition of "Let us go" throughout the poem underscores Prufrock's alienation and loneliness. Though Prufrock uses "you" to address this woman he loves, she is clearly not there. That this clause is repeated three times conjures the image of a man trying to will himself to get out into the world, using the words to catalyze action. That the clause remains a future possibility, only ever a suggestion of what will happen, indicates the isolation of Prufrock, who dreams of romance but is trapped by his uncertainty.

We also see alienation in the way that Prufrock personifies inanimate things. His prolonged description of the "yellow fog" and "yellow smoke" turns the vapor into a cat: he so longs for connection with another living thing that he transforms the inanimate into a "creature" to which he can...

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