Loneliness and Boredom in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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      As an interior monologue The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is adequately suited to mirror the inner condition of the hero of this dramatic monologue. He is one of the victims of urban civilization caught up in a round of social parties which by contrast emphasise on individual isolation. His neurotic nature, his inability to face the problems of life is reflected in his delay and procrastination. He does not want to clinch the issue of the marriage proposal. He thinks he has a lot of time to take a decision, if any:

"Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecision,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,"

      His affairs with women are a device to escape the loneliness of his life:

"And I have known the arms already, known them all-
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare"
Like other lonely men, he desires company and yet he is unable to gather hay while the sun shines. This is because he is indecisive.... in short "I was afraid".        The root cause of his loneliness is the lack of communication. He is more of introvert than an extrovert. He makes efforts to communicate with others, but his inner tension side-tracks him:
Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

      Like other lonely men, he desires company and yet he is unable to gather hay while the sun shines. This is because he is indecisive.... in short "I was afraid".

      The root cause of his loneliness is the lack of communication. He is more of introvert than an extrovert. He makes efforts to communicate with others, but his inner tension side-tracks him:

"And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?"

      He musters courage to begin but his fancy leads him to the silent seas where he is 'a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors' of the ocean. Even his pretended fear of the rejection of his love by the lady betrays his inherent lack of communication. He says:

"It is impossible to say just what I mean!"

      Prufrock is bored by the mechanical routine, by the trivialities of social life, his own indecision, by his own inertness and laziness. There is a lurking death-wish - 'and we drown' - a desire to escape from reality. Like the evening, he is lazy and malingerer to avoid action and duty. He is quite conscious of his own helplessness and frustration. He is so much fed up with life that he considers any action-even the making of a proposal absolutely useless. He has been through action, but that has only added to his boredom. The trouble with him is that his 'ennui' or sense of fatigue has dried up his volition and emotion. His intellectualism and sensitiveness has also sapped the source of his emotionalism.

      Prufrock's personality colours his outlook and his reactions to his surroundings. The streets are like a 'tedious argument', the fog like a cat 'rubs its back upon the window-panes', the yellow smoke lingers upon the pools; the evening sleeps or rather 'malingers' Prufrock is disgusted with arguing and anything requiring action because it will lead him to 'an overwhelming question'. His boredom is echoed in the lines:

"Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of days and ways?"

      The fact is that Prufrock suffers from a spiritual paralysis. He is sterile and inert for anything requiring an effort. His intellectualism has sapped his vitality and potentiality for action. This is the condition of the modern man living in a commercialised society.

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