"The Love Song Of J.Alfred Prufrock" is perhaps Thomas Stearns Eliot's most well-known poem; as the epitome of a modern poem. The poem is comprised of text which is the voice of a neurotic, paranoid modern man - Prufrock - who is obssessed with time, mortality, and social conduct. Eliot's meaning in 'Prufrock' is to describe aspects of the Modern world. I will explain how we get this impression of Prufrock and more through Eliot's use of linguistic techniques. Techniques such as symbolism, repetition, rhetorical questions, allusions or intertextual references, metaphors and similes, rhyme, irony and more.
Before even reading the poem we're faced with the symbolic title, particularly the word 'Prufrock'. By this Eliot is implying a characteristic of this persona, that he has a sort of prude-in-a-frock effeminancy. The effeminancy is apart of Prufrock's nature so its implication is adding to Eliot's construction of the modern, neurotic individual.
Further symbolism is found in the personified cat which in the literal sense is a yellow fog. This cat goes from a high point, 'the windowpanes' to street - 'drains'. Thus it goes through a downward motion, which can be seen to represent Prufrock's mental debasement. This is evident more so as a result of the symbol of the cat; cats are usually associated with feminine qualities. Hence the cat can definately be seen as representing the paranoid, isolated modern man (Prufrock), which is Eliot's meaning.
Another example of symbolism is 'I grow old...I grow old...I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled' where the trousers being rolled is a popular youthful Bohemian fashion that Prufrock is envisioning. Hence the symbol of youth is something Prufrock is adopting to appear youthful. Prufrock also considers parting 'his hair behind' which is symbolically an attempt again to associate himself with...