illustration of a woman holding a glass of wine and a man, Prufrock, standing opposite her

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

by T. S. Eliot

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What is the "third thing" Prufrock refers to in lines 68-75?

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In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the speaker lists several items that he has known:  1) time, 2) eyes, 3) arms.  Prufrock admits to knowing the arms, using sensual language and imagery to depict them as "braceleted white and bare."  The arms could symbolize the comfort of an embrace, but in Prufrock's case, he considers them in retrospect, so they are lost to him.  The imagery of "perfume from a dress" carries the connotation of a lingering memory, much like the scent of the perfume still wafting through the air long after the woman has left. 

Prufrock uses the three things he has known to carry the theme of the poem, love lost and unfulfilled. 

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