The trench is, of course, symbolic of the grave,
with many, many ironies attached. There are
high society trenches. Perhaps old Prufie baby is
in a trench of his own wrenching.


Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 10:10 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Nerves, nerves, nerves

Marcia Karp wrote (2/23/03):

> I didn't know "Lil's husband appears in
>  'A Game of Chess' ." How so?

Oops: "appears" is certainly the wrong word. I should have said that he's
referred to in "A Game of Chess".

> the common method of dramatization (though the style,
> let's call it, of the dramas differ) connect
> the bar scene and the chess game. And, then,
> as you point out, so does the matter of nerves.

I was thinking of perhaps a more direct connection. In a post from 2/22/03
Nancy had mentioned that the phrase "rats' alley" may refer to the trenches
in WW1. So we have:

'My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
'I never know what you are thinking. Think.'

I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

   The image I got from mentally combining Nancy's post and Carrol's post
two people in a trench in WW1 (rats' alley), and one of the "soldiers"
becoming hysterical the way Carrol's post described ("My nerves are bad
to-night. Yes, bad."). Or more precisely, the Cleoparta woman first exhibits
a bad case of 'nerves' and this exhibition mentally projects the narrator
into a trench scene from WW1.

   This would be an implied comparison of the woman (and the narrator's life
with the woman) to the "nervous" life experienced by WW1 combatants. It is
this connection (the "rats' alley/nerves" and the "WW1 soldiers' war
that I hadn't made before.

-- Steve --