This comes after reading everyone's post on the subject.
I chose the original post to respond to, in case getting
back to the root question matters.
My question is, how can streets FOLLOW?
From everything I've been able to determine
from my dictionaries, FOLLOW is a transitive
verb, but I see no object, unless there is the
implication that one street follows another.
The image of dark streets in a rundown area takes
the reader back to Eliot's interest in Baudelaire
and Baudy's trips through the faubourg of Paris,
looking for deeper and greater evil as in
Fleur du Mal. There EVIL is the overwhelming matter,
apparently so overwhelming it caused Baudy to convert
to Christianity, or some such thing.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
[log in to unmask]
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 10:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Overwhelming question about Prufrock
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question...
For the grammarians and poetry analysts (not mutually exclusive, of course)
on the list:
Is it the "streets" or the "tedious argument of insidious intent" that will
"lead you to an overwhelming question"? The colon after "oyster-shells"
followed immediately by the word "streets" seems to put the emphasis on
"streets". In other words, does the grammar support either of these two
Reading I) Here's two things about those streets:
a) Let us go through streets that follow like a tedious argument of
b) Let us go though streets to lead you to an overwhelming question...
Reading II) Here's two things about those tedious arguments:
Streets that follow like
a) a tedious argument of insidious intent
b) a tedious argument to lead you to an overwhelming question...
It matters because if it's the (unspecified) "tedious argument" the leads to
the overwhelming question, we don't have much information about the nature
the argument. However, if it's the streets that lead to the overwhelming
question, we know it is the sleazy part of town, that is, sex, that is
leading to the overwhelming question.
-- Steve --