The Analysis Of The Love Song Of Prufrock By T.S. Eliot

1273 words - 5 pages

Malek Kunbargi english 99In his poem Eliot paints the picture of an insecure man looking for his place in society. Prufrock has fallen in with the times, and places a lot of burden on social status and class to determine his individuality. He is ashamed of his personal appearance and looks towards social advancement as a way to assure himself and those around him of his value and establish who he is. Through out the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", T.S. Eliot explores Prufrock's conflict with society, love and self.The issue of Prufrock's place in society leads to an "overwhelming question..."(10), which is never identified, asked, or answered in the poem. This "question" is somehow associated with his social status, but both its ambiguity and Prufrock's denial to even ask, "What is it?"(11) gives some insight into his state of internal turmoil.Prufrock is beginning to feel especially detached from society and burdened by his awareness of it. He thinks "I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."(73-74) Prufrock wishes instead that he could be a mindless crab, scurrying around the bottom of the ocean; another example of Prufrock's impression of his position in society, rarely comparing himself to real people. In fact, in his dream sequence at the end when he imagines how his life might end up, he sees himself as an ocean creature, surrounded by mermaids "Till human voices wake us, and we drown."(131). Eliot not only uses imagery here to create a picture of a headless crab scuttling around at the bottom of the ocean, but he uses the form of the poem itself to help emphasize his point here. The head is detached from the crab, and the lines are detached from the poem in their own stanza, much like Prufrock wishes his self-consciousness would just detach itself. These images represent Prufrock's desire to be rid of his self-consciousness and possibly some suicidal tendencies which can be tied into just about all of the ambiguous questions Prufrock asks of himself throughout the poem.Another example of Prufrock's conflict with society is Prufrock's dissatisfaction with his personal appearance. Not only is he unhappy with the way he looks, having "To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;" but he is constantly afraid of what others will have to say about him: "(They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!')"(41) And "(... 'But how his arms and legs are thin!')"(44). Prufrock's obsession with looks illustrate to us how much he wants to fit into society and how much his identity is rooted in what others think of him. Prufrock is insecure and frightened of peoples' reactions to his balding head and slim, aging body. Unfortunately, his lack of confidence isn't limited to his looks.Through out the poem you can see Prufrock's difficulty in communicating with other people - not surprising considering his extreme lack of confidence in his appearance. He is indecisive and unsuccessful in his...

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