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>Date sent:              Thu, 17 Apr 2003 11:04:37 -0400
>Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
>From:                   Jen Barnett <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject:                Re: Overwhelming question about Prufrock
>To:                     [log in to unmask]
>
>> ============================
>> Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
>> The muttering retreats
>> Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
>> And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
>> Streets that follow like a tedious argument
>> Of insidious intent
>> To lead you to an overwhelming question...
>> ========================
>
While one can't *properly* read anything well written "anyway" one likes, I agree that this can be read in different ways.  Under any reading that appears reasonable to me, however, BOTH the streets and the argument are expressly identified as leading to an overwhelming question.

One can debate the emphasis or degree of ambiguity intended, but the very thing that makes the "Streets" "like" the "tedious argument/Of insidious intent", as I read it, is the fact that they "lead you to an overwhelming question..."  Since the protagonist is walking the streets, and analogizing them to the tedious argument, it seems clear to me that the streets will lead him to the specific overwhelming question he has metioned.  While he's walking, however, he may also be  conducting an argument that has the same effect.

Tom K