And can one define the difference beteen arbitrariness, and creative
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Gish" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: Water in TWL
> I share this confusion since, as I noted before, all the other elements
> also represent opposites. That is not arbitrary; it is the way those
> images have long been used. If religious writers see lust as fire,
> lovers see fire as passion and joy. Both are common tropes. Same for
> earth as life, mother, generation and deaty, dust, decay. Air may be a
> bit less common as opposites--I'm not sure. But in TWL it serves
> opposing purposes.
> I don't see what makes water at all different. And if it is, I don't
> see what makes that arbitrary as opposed to, say, ironic or complex, or
> linguistically variable.
> >>> Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> 08/05/07 9:42 AM >>>
> Dear Diana,
> I have been reading your posts, but still am puzzled.
> 1) What is "a sum of meaning"? What in the poem indicates that this
> is a legitimate standard/result/techinique to judge the poem by?
> 2) Granting your analysis below, but still don't understand your
> arithemtic or the reason for applying it. Water does give life and take
> it. Drought, too, can kill. How is water, then, "cancelled out"?
> Perhaps sum of meaning and elements that cancel themselves out and
> Sosostis .. is stable in herself are part of a discourse I've not yet
> encountered, but I wonder if your measurement is useful here. I can't
> tell, since I don't understand what you mean.
> Can't the acute representation of the ambiguity, the multi-valence
> of the things of the world, stand without adding up to something outside
> the poem -- a stable or a non-zero figure?
> Diana Manister wrote:
> > Eliot's use of water is not ambiguous, but arbitrary. Water is first a
> > death-bringer for the drowned Phoenician sailor, then its lack is
> > death-bringing, dessicating the living. Both water and its absence
> > accomplish the same end, so water at times is its own opposite. But
> > water is presented in a duality with rock, which acts as its opposite:
> > "Here is rock but no water." Then water dripping is life-bringing, and
> > then thunder and the storm, which bring shantih, peace.
> > Perhaps some intricate and convoluted rationale could
> > attribute intratextual consistency to Eliot's use of water, but I'm
> > guessing it would be a stretch. All of the other scenes and images and
> > characters are consistent as to what they offer the narrator, however
> > impossible it is to precisely define what that is. Even Sosostris,
> > about whom I maintain the narrator has mixed feelings, is stable in
> > herself; representing the commercialization and vulgarization of the
> > supernatural. Both vulgarity and the prophetic gift are present in
> > her as human qualities; Sosostris does not cancel herself out as the
> > use of water does.
> > Dear Diana,
> > My message to you (August 1) seems to have gotten lost.
> > Marcia
> > Diana Manister wrote:
> > Marcia, the poem's ambiguities contribute to its appeal, but
> > even the best poems have weak spots, and Eliot's use of water
> > in TWL seems weak, being so contradictory and confused that
> > the sum of its meaning is zero. Diana
> > <http://g.msn.com/8HMBENUS/2746??PS=47575>
> > What in the poem points you towards summing up water's meaning? I
> > think rather in terms of effects and of changes in those.
> > Best,
> > Marcia
> > Puzzles, trivia teasers, word scrambles and more. Play for your chance
> > to win! <http://g.msn.com/8HMAENUS/2728??PS=47575>
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