Study Guide

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Stanza XVI

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Stanza XVI

Lines 120-121

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

  • Ah, yes. We love these lines because they bring some silliness back into the poem. Trousers. Ha!
  • Though Prufrock has done a pretty good job so far at disguising the passage of time, he can no longer hide the fact that he’s getting older and older. He blew his chance to ask the question, and now he’s like the guy who stays at a party too long, except that the party is his own poem.
  • Because he already failed to make one big decision, he’s going to pretend he’s an assertive, confident guy by making a bunch of comically minor decisions. Thus, the infamous rolled trousers bit. A true classic.
  • Hey, at least his pant-legs won’t get wet if he steps in a puddle. Always thinking ahead, that Prufrock.

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