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In a message dated 4/17/03 9:43:24 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:

> However, I do think that there's a distinct
> possibility, as I suggested before,
> that "what is it" is in fact itself
> the 'overwhelming question', rather than
> a response to the mooting of the notion
> of said question. . .  It's no secret that Eliot
> enjoyed playing word games . . .
>
>  Cheers,
>  --George

Yes he enjoyed word games but he also enjoyed writing poetry. I think you
need to fit a whole lot of the poem together to lead you to the overwhelming
question, such as:

===============

1) It appears that it is the (sleazy) streets that lead to the question.

2) (To address Carol's question, "Why is the argument tedious?") -- It
appears that Prufrock has wrestled with this problem/situation/question many
times, has asked himself about it over and over again until he's almost sick
of thinking about it so much. Note the "pattern in Eliot's carpet" from Ash
Wednesday:

      And pray to God to have mercy upon us
      And pray that I may forget
      These matters that with myself I too much discuss
      Too much explain

In other words, the Prufrock argument (that he's having with himself) is
'tedious' through unresolved repetition.

3) The argument contains elements of 'insidious intent', that is, it contains
menacing, dangerous elements. This suggests to me an argument with someone
trying to seduce you into following an evil path, like Satan deliberately
trying to talk you into doing something against the wishes of God so that
you'll lose your immortal soul.

4) I think you'll need to fit 'Michelangelo' into the question.

5) And let's not forget those 'lonely men in shirt sleeves' or those mermaids
who will not 'sing to me'.

====================

Or, to put it bluntly: If the streets lead to the overwhelming question,
isn't the overwhelming question about sexuality?

-- Steve --