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

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Why is "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" a love song?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In a typical love song, the singer might tell their loved one just how much they care, that they cannot live without the other person, or that their life will not be complete without that other person's love in return. However, Prufrock's love song does not feel particularly love-songlike at all. He never says how much he loves this woman with whom he attends the party and never states that he cannot live without her. Instead, he considers asking her an "overwhelming question" -- possibly if she loves him too, or even if she will agree to marry him -- but he never actually asks it because he is too afraid of potential rejection. The typical singer of a love song makes themselves vulnerable as they confess their feelings, but Prufrock simply cannot bring himself to do the same. Therefore, the title of the poem is ironic: he does not have the courage to sing a real love song, and this is the best he can muster.

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ariel-mcgavock eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” is, perhaps, not a traditional love...

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