How Do I Look?

J. Alfred Prufrock's Self-Opinion

Prufrock's Self-Opinion and its Consequences

Throughout the poem, "The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", Prufrock depicts that he is worthless and unworthy of anything "good". This problem makes Prufrock very self-conscious and prevents him from many opportunities such as, finding love. The cause of this problem results from his constant references to a dreary and dark world, "Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets" (Prufrock, 4). Prufrock's dark and gloomy details throughout the poem indicate his negative perspective on the world. In addition, Prufrock makes reference to, "one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants" (Prufrock, 6-7). Cheap hotels and tacky restaurants attest that Prufrock believes he is undeserving of anything of value. Prufrock's self-consciousness manifests as he finds more tedious details to draw in on. This is seen as he begins to procrastinate, "Like a patient etherized upon a table" (Prufrock, 3), worrying about the little things instead of taking action. For example, as Prufrock thinks about talking to a woman he wonders, "Do I dare?" (Prufrock, 39). Prufrock does not act on his feelings, but instead, worries about every possible bad thing that could result from him encountering this woman.

Prufrock's World

Prufrock sees his world and purpose in life as the glass always being half empty. Living in fear of what people will say, including his personal judgement of himself. Prufrock is frequently belittling himself, calling himself Polonius from "Hamlet". Polonius is not the typical person one would want to be compared to. Ironically no one is comparing Prufrock to Polonius but himself. Prufrock sees himself as a minor character in the world, remaining unnoticed and ultimately useless. Prufrock questions, why try to take action, if you will constantly be judged and depicted by the stereotypical actions and opinions of society. Prufrock refers to the word “they” frequently within the poem: they will say, they will judge, they will assume. In reality it is himself who is judging and assuming. Depicting his own decisions which virtually lead to indecision's.

Suggestions about the Protagonist

Prufrock not only sees the world in a negative light – but himself as well. He is very insecure and self-conscious about his age and appearance “with the bald spot in the middle of [his] hair” (40). His depictions of himself describe that he feels worthless, incapable, and too weak to achieve his desires. He expresses that he “should have been a pair of ragged claws / scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (73-74) and that although he has “wept and fasted, wept and prayed” (81) he continues to rave about his appearance. Prufrock’s repugnant self-opinion provokes his low self-esteem and results in his isolation from the rest of society in his lonesome, deserted town.

Visions and Revisions

Therapist:

Hello Prufrock, tell me about your woes.

Prufrock:

I feel as if I am all alone in this crazy world, I have absolutely no confidence in myself. See heres the thing, everytime I try to speak to this woman I admire, I doubt myself, picturing myself getting rejected and humiliated.

Therapist:

A low self esteem is very common, you may want to do things but your insecurities get the best of you. You must realize that in order to overcome these challenges you must take small steps towards becoming comfortable in your own skin.

Prufrock:

 How do I do that?

Therapist:

Try something small, like introducing yourself to her. You may be surprised. Little steps will help you to feel more comfortable socially. Try to make small talk with friends, if you're at the grocery store or going to get coffee. This will increase your self-confidence, making you more comfortable around others.

RonPopeMusic

A Drop In The Ocean by RonPopeMusic