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Dear Kate,

    How can you think about word play when you don't know the meaning of =
a word? Why not just look it up?

    Usually when word play is involved there are choices which add to =
our understanding and which can be drawn from the word at hand: ie, =
'sun' and 'son', etc. 'Carbon dioxide' is a far cry and I am also not =
sure the dates are coincident.  'Carbon' has nothing to do with =
'carbuncular' except 'car', a prefix, in which case you could make the =
case for 'car', 'cartridge', 'cart', 'cartology', 'carry', etc etc.  =
This pushes the limits of the unbelievable into the impossible and then =
into the fictitious.
    Besides, if the clerk were heavy as you suggest (which carbon =
dioxide I believe is not, though I haven't checked its mass), how could =
he have such light assurance ('as a silk hat'); if he were slow, he =
would not 'assault at once', and so on (Eliot has him 'flit' in the =
drafts).=20
    What do you mean by 'colourless'? That he is invisible?

    I think it's deceitful and unhelpful to create stories about the =
lives of those who flit through these poems, about whom we know almost =
nothing and yet something. For part of Eliot's point is to teach you the =
borderline between suspicions and the deception that what you suspect is =
true, is a piece of knowledge.

Yours, Jennifer (not the one who just signed off the group).

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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Dear Kate,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; How can you think =
about word=20
play when you don't know the meaning of a word? Why not just look it=20
up?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Usually when word =
play is=20
involved there are choices which add to our understanding and which can =
be drawn=20
from the word at hand: ie, 'sun'&nbsp;and 'son', etc. 'Carbon dioxide' =
is a far=20
cry and I am also not sure the dates are coincident.&nbsp; 'Carbon' has =
nothing=20
to do with 'carbuncular' except 'car', a prefix,&nbsp;in which case you =
could=20
make the case for 'car', 'cartridge', 'cart', 'cartology', 'carry', etc=20
etc.&nbsp; This pushes the limits of the unbelievable into the =
impossible and=20
then into the fictitious.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Besides, if the =
clerk were heavy=20
as you suggest (which carbon dioxide I believe is not, though I haven't =
checked=20
its mass), how could he have such light assurance ('as a silk hat'); if =
he were=20
slow, he would not 'assault at once', and so on (Eliot has him 'flit' in =
the=20
drafts). </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What do you mean by=20
'colourless'? That he is invisible?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I think it's =
deceitful and=20
unhelpful to create stories about the lives of those who flit through =
these=20
poems, about whom we know almost nothing and yet something. For part of =
Eliot's=20
point is to teach you the borderline between suspicions and the =
deception that=20
what you suspect is true, is a piece of knowledge.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Yours, Jennifer (not the one who just =
signed off=20
the group).</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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