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Love and Rejection in T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Despite the different eras in which they were written, T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock centers on a theme of love and rejection similar to that in Robert Browning’s The Last Ride Together. In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, it is unclear whether Prufrock is really in love with the person he is speaking to in the poem, and this reflects the sensibilities that came with modernist poetry. Prufrock is afraid of rejection, and is on the edge about whether or not to confess his love. In The Last Ride Together, it is clear that the speaker is eternally in love with the person he is addressing, which actually rejects typical beliefs of the Victorian era, since the Victorians believed in chaste marriage before true love. Browning’s character, however, is not afraid of rejection, but nevertheless gets rejected. Although both these poems deal with a different kind of love—whether it be the kind that is unsure or the kind that is undying—both speakers deal with the concept of rejection. This further signifies a relation between the two poems, because although they have contradicting ideas about life and love, they both end up in the same place, suggesting that neither of the characters has power over his fate when it comes to love. Although The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Last Ride Together differ in that they deal with contrasting ideas about time, they both project similar ideas of love and rejection. In comparing the two poems, readers can see that no matter what they wish, they do not have power over their love lives.
In the Victorian era, it would be typical for a woman to marry for money, or for reasons other than love. Unconditional love for Victorians was rare and un-coveted. Browning’s character mak...

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...nd T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock both center on a theme of love and rejection. The protagonists of both works end up alone despite their efforts and desires to be with the ones they love. Browning’s protagonist desperately tries to remain with his love – almost as though he is gripping on to something so he can remain in the present and never move on, and Prufrock never takes the leap he needs in order to tell his love how he truly feels about her. Although both characters use very different approaches to deal with their feelings, both end up alone because love is uncontrollable and does not rest in the power of any human being. When these two poems are treated as companion pieces, readers realize that the purpose of the rejection in the end of these poems is to show that love is not attainable by desire, and no one has the power to force love.
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