Newsflash: It Isn’t Really a Love Song. Unless You’re Anthrophobic.
At the start of the poem, Prufrock beckons to an anonymous source,
This line can be interpreted as him addressing the reader as “you.” He can also be addressing his other self, also known as the inner self where there is free-flowing stream of consciousness. His address of himself as another person is a sign of spiritual disengagement that results in self-alienation from society. This self-alienation symbolizes a separation between his physical brain from his mental perceptions and experiences with the world. Prufrock also sets the tone of the poem when he describes the ambiance,
His comparison indicates a person undergone anesthesia or morphine, who becomes detached from themselves and the world because of the effects of the drug. As a result, one loses any bodily sensation, especially pain. Here is a recap so far:
This detached feeling, or alienated moment in time from themselves and the world, continues to resonate when Prufrock mentions
The assumption here is that he is referring to seedy hourly hotels where people have one-night stands.
One-night stands are generally detached relationships with no desire to establish a bond but to merely obtain sexual pleasure. This absence of connection therefore links to loneliness and separation from society with the lack of commitment or relationship for each other.
There Is An Even Deeper Meaning to the Drugs and One-Night Stands Though.
According to Erich Fromm’s essay, “From Work in an Alienated Society,” alienation is defined as “…a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself” (63). The alienated person is then out of touch with his surroundings, which Prufrock’s diction reveals that the disconnection with environment causes adverse mental side effects of separateness and isolation.
The setting in the beginning of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” therefore vividly potrays the themes of: