“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“: Lines for Close Analysis
Guiding Questions for Discussion:
1) Lines 1-13 Who is the speaker of the poem and to whom is the poem addressed?
2) Lines 1-15 Where is the speaker? Describe the time ofday, place, etc. What parts of the poem support your answer?
3) Lines 1-15 Identify two SIMILES in the opening stanza. What do these similes suggest about what is being compared to something else?
4) Lines 14-15 What room is the speaker describing?
5) Lines 15-23 Identify the primary METAPHOR in this stanza. In other words, to what does the poet indirectly liken the yellow fog? Note specific elements/words from the poem to support your answer.
6) Lines 23-33 What is the primary argument of this stanza? Sum up the argument in one sentence.
7) Lines 32-33 What does the speaker mean in lines 32-33? What does this argument have to do with what is “happening” in the poem?
8) Lines 37-48 What is the speaker’s emotional state at this point in the poem? What are his primary concerns?
9) Lines 46-48 Why do you think the speaker is stalling when it comes to socializing? Is this a speaker with whom you’d like to sit down and chat? Why or why not?
10) Line 51 What does the speaker mean in line 51?
11) Lines 49-69 Identify the poem’s use of REPETITION? What effect does repetition have on the poem’s meaning?
12) Lines 49-69 What is the speaker’s TONE at this point in the poem?
13) Lines 62-66 Whom is the speaker describing?
14) Line 66 Re-read line 66. What stands out about the act of digressing?
15) Lines 75-86 Do you think the speaker himself is digressing? Identify parts of the poem to support your answer.
16) Lines 75-86 What is the primary argument of this stanza?
17) Line 85 Who/What is “the eternal Footman”?
18) Lines 86-98 How does this setting relate to the setting of the poem’s openingstanzas?
19) Lines 90-98 Describe the speaker’s relationship to speaking itself? Is he effective at expressing himself and/or telling a story? Why or why not?
20) Line 104 What is your analysis of line 104?
21) Lines 111-119 What is the primary argument of this stanza?
22) Line 117 Define “obtuse.”
23) Lines 120-125 Has the speaker finally admitted his primary concern? What effect does “growing old” have on thespeaker’s socializing?
24) Line 125 Re-read line 125. Why does the speaker think this?
25) Lines 129-131 What is the speaker’s final tone?
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