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

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Where can I find the themes of alienation and urbanization in "The Love Song of of J.Alfred Prufrock" and how can I explain theme?

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In the first grouping of lines, the speaker describes the evening "spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table." This seems to signify a kind of fuzziness, as though the colors in the sky are diffuse and hazy, possibly the effects of air pollution. Further, he describes the "half-deserted streets, / The muttering retreats . . . / Streets that follow like a tedious argument of insidious intent . . . " The speaker certainly doesn't describe this urban setting in a positive way. He uses a simile to describe the streets as being like an argument that goes on and on without really going anywhere, and yet they are treacherous, as though they will entrap a traveler who attempts to follow them.  

Moreover, the speaker describes the "yellow fog" just outside all of the windows, referring to it, also, as "yellow smoke." The color choice, yellow, seems to imply some kind of decay or disease—perhaps in the moral fabric of society, referring to society's diminished values....

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