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Diana Manister wrote:
> 
> Marcia, if Eliot cut the appearances of water free of each other in a
> text designed not as a coherent narrative but as a collection of
> independent referents for the same sign then there is no sum of
> meaning, only a series of changing meanings for water in different
> contexts. Diana

Of course. That is how words are always used. Remember that there are
more things in the world than there are words in any language, so it is
impossible to communicate without constantly using the same word for
different things in different contexts. It is true that in some works
certain words will be so emphasized and contextualized that web of
related meanings cluster around a given word or phrase and are elicited
each time the word or phrase appears -- or ALMOST each time. Even in
those cases one can't take it for granted that _every_ appearance of the
word is related to or elicits that cluster -- for the reason given: so
many things in the  world, so few words to name them all.

Consider the line I've cited several times, "The hot water at 10."
Suppose what is wanted at that point in the poem is a reference to a
regular daily ritual. Morning tea is an obvious candidate. (It could be
any of the other possibilities Nancy mentions, so long as it is banal &
ordinary.) Why should Eliot, even if the water-symbolism elsewhete is as
important as you think) not use water in here in a restricted sense, not
eliciting at all other appearances of water in the post. I've been
reading the poem off and on for 60 years and never been bothered but
have taken each use of water in its immeidate context. Marcia and Nancy
have not only read the poem over and over again, they've written on it
and have read thousands of pages by other critics and _they_ have no
difficulty in taking water as it comes withou seeing or looking for the
ssme huge symbol looming over every appearance. I really don't see any
problem at all.

In 60 years of reading and writing about literature, of talking about it
with others, it never even occurred to me, not ONCE, that every use of a
word in a text had to be in any way related to every other use. That you
think one needs to or can read this way simply flabbergasts me.

Carrol