Analysis Of The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

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The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” takes the reader inside the mind of a very self conscious man. Self conscious which according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is, “uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” Prufrock is surrounded by the elite and this causes him to feel self conscious because he cannot keep up. Prufrock self consciousness effects the way he views himself and the way he thinks other people view him. Prufrock’s self consciousness ultimately leads to negative results. Prufrocks self consciousness effects the way he views himself. In the poem Prufrock spends most of the poem thinking about what is wrong with him. The clearest examples of Prufrock’s insecurities is the way he…show more content…
Prufrock over thinks everything about himself because he is afraid of being judged. It appears throughout the poem that Prufrock always feels like other people are looking at him and judging him. The critic M.L. Rosenthal wrote, “The furtive restlessness of the start, the fear of women’s ridicule, the sensual longings, the forebodings of loneliness and eternal frustration, the painful self mockery side by side with the persistent romanticism - these are the very stuff of that imagination” (Rosenthal, 388). She is breaking down all the of the things that Prufrock is afraid of, which is a lot of things. One of the points she makes is that Prufrock is afraid of “women’s ridicule” which leads to the first example. Twice throughout the poem Prufrock uses the line, “In the room women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” (13-14 and 35-36). It appears that Prufrock is self conscious that he will not be able to have a conversation with these ladies because he is not smart enough. He is worried that because he is not as smart as the women they will judge him. An example from the poem of Prufrock being self conscious of people looking at him and judging is in the 8th stanza when he says, “For I have known them all already, known them all— /The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,” (54-55). Prufrock is using imagery to describe the eyes he sees that are fixed upon him and judging every move he makes. The line, “I…show more content…
The amount of anxiety Prufrock has about the way other people view him causes him to want to escape all together. In the poem Prufrock discusses not wanting to be a human anymore. He doesn’t just want to be a different person, he just wants to stop being a person altogether. For example Prufrock thinks, “I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (73-74). This shows Prufrocks lack of self esteem because he wishes to be a creature that is hunched over on the ground and scurrying around on the bottom of the sea floor. He no longer wants to move around in public noticed, but instead walk on the ground unnoticed. The quote shows the toll the elite have taken on Prufrock because it seems all he wants to do is escape. This is not the only example of Prufrock wanting to escape from himself. In the third stanza Prufrock describes fog in depth. “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, / The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,” (15-16). Prufrock’s fascination with fog is interesting because fog causes everything to be muggy and not that clear. It seems that Prufrock would much rather be covered in a misty haze, so nobody can see him make mistakes or screw up. Prufrock finds comfort in the fog which not everybody does because it is not clear. The worry that other people are judging caused him to not be himself fully. In the fourth stanza Prufrock says,
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