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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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.

Lines 73-74

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.

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