Actually, "wholistic" reading, by itself, can swing as wildly away from reality as any obsession with a single line. The hermeneutic circle implies that one must simply keep checking back and forth between whole and parts, since it is impossible to understand the whole without first understanding all the parts while it is impossible to understand any part without first understanding the whole. The assumption (which makes interpretation at least provisionally possible) is that this vicious circle can be changed into a benign circle. Probably most of us most of the time start pick up on the fly (from other readers or from a quick and superficial skimming) some rough and ready 'whole,' and then proceed to read as many of the parts as we can as contributing to that whole. TWL expressesd the disillusion of a generation. TWL is a grouch against life (or however Eliot put it). TWL is a celebration of rebirth archetypes. TWL is the painful journey of the soul towards convesion. Etc Etc Etc. And it's probably best* that in the case of a disputed passage the local context should be given priority to any assumed whole -- _given priority_, not made the only determinant. I thought that probably the focus on "ivory" in isolation had carried us rather beyond the point where it could be very fruitful without checking against some wider set of criteria than individual responses to the word. (And some of the posts had at least gestured towards such a broader context.) It does not hurt to be conscious (or to be reminded to be conscious) of what are the interpretive procedures one is following. Carrol *I first typed "true" -- then went back & changed to "best" on the grounds that we are in an area whete TRUTHS are hard to come by.