Alfred Prufrock

Decent Essays

The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is about an extremely insecure and anxious man who is expressing his worries and concerns in his life. He feels cut off from society and emotionally distances himself from people around him, especially women. He is doubtful of his appearance and, therefore, is very introverted due to his embarrassment and uneasiness. This poem is a depiction of how he experienced his life while battling his anxiety and depression. Prufrock first mentions his appearance in line 40 where he says, “With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—(They will say: ‘How his hair is growing thin!’)” A few lines later, he says, “They will say: ‘But how his arms and legs are thin!” (line 44). People have most likely commented …show more content…

He expresses his feelings of estrangement from society and the women in that society. Prufrock feels as though he does not belong to the world as he is. In line 73-74, he even goes as far as to mention that he believes he “should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (lines 73-74). In the article “Apprehensive Alfred: A Character Analysis of J. Alfred Prufrock” by Lea Isbell, she mentions that nearing the end of the poem, he appears to identify more with mermaids than a human, and this becomes clear with the use of “we” when talking about the mermaids: “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown” (lines 129-130). I agree with her interpretation of these lines because at this point in the poem, it appears that Prufrock is suggesting that he wishes to break free of the society that he has been cut off from and not only to live among the mythical beings, but to become one as well. He has a fear of rejection when it comes to women, so he will simply not ask a woman out for the fear of being told no. He constantly asks, “Would it have been worth while?” throughout the poem when ultimately, he has decided that no, it would not. It appears as though he has completely given up on trying to fit in with society despite the fact that he is constantly worrying what people are …show more content…

The time skips and backtracking through the poem hints that his depression could have been affecting his perception of reality and the flow of time as he perceives it. He is constantly worrying about time and repeatedly tries to assure himself that he has enough time to accomplish what he wants (which in this case is trying to get a lady), despite the fact that he “grow[s] old” (line 120). When he mentions that he is growing old, he is finally saying that he missed his chance to ask the question. Because of that fact, he decides to make a lot of miniscule decisions to try to bring humor back in and maybe make himself feel better. He decides to wear the bottom of his trousers rolled and asks if he should part his hair behind, which tells that he is basically trying to laugh off the fact that he messed up and wasted his time. He fears reality as a whole and tries to escape with the thoughts of mermaids and mystical concepts. In the last line of the poem, he has given up and it is apparent that his false reality crumples when he says, “Till human voices wake us, and we drown” (line

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