The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T.S. Eliot
Stanza XI Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
- Here’s another image from way out of left field. It might also be the most accurate self-evaluation that Prufrock offers in the entire poem.
- It would have been more fitting, he says, to have been born as a pair of crab claws that "scuttle" across the floor of the ocean.
- The crab is the perfect image of Prufrock, because it seems suited to a single over-riding goal: self-protection.