Madame Sos. is telling the hearer to do something that a huge
number of people do anyway. Fearing death by water is almost archetypal,
if not actually so. It's a safe bet for a fortune teller to tell
a customer. In fact that's the kind of thing most two bit tea
leave readers, &c. would come up with.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 7:40 AM
Subject: Re: Fearing death by water
> I wrote to Diana (in part and on Fri, 3 Aug 2007):
> > Somewhere in this long thread I believe you asked
> > something like "Why fear death by water?"
> Tom Gray quoted this in a reply and added (on Fri, 3 Aug 2007):
> > Doesn't Eliot provide and answer to that question?
> > "Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you"
> I'm reading your reply as Eliot setting up the comparison "Phlebas
> died and you will too." While certainly true, I don't see that as a
> reason to fear death. Diana and CR were discussing the redemptive
> quality of Phlebas' drowning. I'm not going to go that far myself yet,
> but it doesn't appear to be a death to be feared. Nor did the
> drowning of the fishermen in the draft of the poem. Nor the allusions
> to The Tempest scattered within the poem (Those are potatoes that were
> eyes.) Other Eliot poems that have death by water also don't seem to
> me to be fearful of a death by water.
> Rick Parker
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