In The Prince of Tides, what does Pat Conroy suggest about the nature of one's psychological condition in the face of social expectations?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that Conroy makes a clear argument that one's own psychological reality has to take precedence over the presence of social expectations that are applied to individuals.  Conroy examines this in the face of the Wingo family.  When Savannah endures her own challenges, Tom and the rest of the family must also confront what happened and how what Savannah endures is something with which the entire family must reckon.  Conroy makes it clear that there might be situations in which individuals must strip away these social expectations in the name of upholding one's own psychological reality, a condition in which individuals are able to fully understand their own sense of self despite the nagging social reality that might cloud such an understanding.  If Conroy sees both notions of the good as colliding with one another, he clearly suggests that accepting the psychological notion of the good in which individuals are more in tune with who they are and what this comprises is more valuable than meeting external social expectations that fail to full account for the whole human being.  It is here where Conroy suggests that individuals must find the strength to break free from social expectations that do more to hurt the individual's understanding of self than nurture it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial