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(1970). American Imago. XXVI, 1969: Prufrock's Defenses and Our Response. Leon Waldoff. Pp. 182-193.. Psychoanal Q., 39:658.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXVI, 1969: Prufrock's Defenses and Our Response. Leon Waldoff. Pp. 182-193.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39:658

American Imago. XXVI, 1969: Prufrock's Defenses and Our Response. Leon Waldoff. Pp. 182-193.

Prufrock shrinks from heterosexual pursuits in order to avoid the anxieties related to castration, rejection, and overwhelming instinctual forces. His principal defenses are regression to oral receptivity, masochistic turning against himself, and passivity as a reaction-formation to assertiveness. He derives pleasure from a sense of mastery over his drives, self-pity, and, to a degree, realization of 'the oceanic feeling of primary narcissism'. The reader's anxiety is aroused inasmuch as Prufrock's anxieties are universal. The reader's anxiety is controlled, however, by Prufrock's defenses; he is presented as self-deceiving and pathetic, thus discouraging more than transient identification. In this way the reader also avoids the despair which Prufrock's unenviable state of emptiness, feeble purpose, and neurotic self-absorption would otherwise arouse.

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Article Citation

(1970). American Imago. XXVI, 1969. Psychoanal. Q., 39:658

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