Prufrock in Progress
In A Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, the main character, J. Alfred Prufrock battles with his identification in the world. T.S. Eliot comprises this character with traits that any human being can relate to, like fear and desire, while ironically depicting the character as a monster. This dueling monster lives within Prufrock. His desire to be accepted is bogged down by his unworthy self-esteem because of his lack of human relationships. Prufrock is a relatable character at best, but his self-image ruins his potential of connecting with other people. Some scholars believe that Prufrock is yearning for a long lost lover throughout his love song, but most evidence shows that he is in confliction with himself. Sistani writes Internal Anxieties and Conflicts in The LOVE SONG of J. ALFRED PRUFROCK and states that Prufrock is searching for a female lover in his expression of A Love Song. Sistani believes that J. Alfred is experiencing internal conflict about a love source and the need of comfort through a relationship with another woman. This interpretation poses irony continuously established throughout the poem because Prufrock does not even love himself. Sistani explains this insecurity by analyzing, “The article concludes that the male character’s anxieties and conflicts are all the results of a past unsatisfactory mothering situation during his childhood,” (Sistani 478). This accusation is made from empty evidence that he desires a woman’s affection simply because he did not ever have it. This shows that J. Alfred Prufrock is in a habitual pattern of looking for love in all the wrong places.
This interpretation by Sistani suggests that J. Alfred is speaking out in the desire for a loving partner. Sadly, Prufrock’s relationship with his mother was disappointing and unfulfilling, therefore; he longs for someone to fill this place. Unfortunately, his lack of love and acceptance for himself disables him from relating and loving or even accepting others. Prufrock speaks of attending a party in which none of the women are good enough for him. He talks of their skirts hitting the floor and is infatuated by the women, but then ironically changes his viewpoint stating, And I have known the eyes already, known them all- The eyes that fix you in a formulated phase, And when I am formulated, Sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin? (Gwynn 623). Prufrock is explaining how women prevent him from being his true self. How the presence of them makes him feel like an insect being pinned on the wall; examined and preserved for humans to review and criticize. He deems the question of how to begin the expression of self when all women seem to want is a fixed idea of what a man should be, and that is not what J. Alfred is. Sistani evaluates “As a dependent character with not good enough mothering, Prufrock, like a child, is always willing to attach to an external loved object to achieve support and gratification. This need for attachment, to relate to the desired object is constant in Prufrock,” (Sistani 481). The poem in itself is a projection of how Prufrock views himself in comparison to how the reader or another person would view him. He projects only what he wants to be known, and leaves the rest as mystery. He purposefully reveals only what he is comfortable revealing, which will never lead to a sustainable relationship. Sistani concludes in her article, “Prufrock, with unresolved internal conflicts and anxieties still dreams of the women to attach to in order to fulfill the need for security and comfort,” (Sistani 481). This analysis believes that Prufrock himself feels he will not be able to fully express himself or be accepted without a female partner to lovingly accept him first. Unfortunately and ironically, the cycle persists because J. Alfred Prufrock does not ever have the epiphany that his entire misery is derived from his lack of confidence and...
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