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Eliot And “The Hollow Men” Essay

1253 words - 6 pages

T. S. Eliot was a man who strongly believed that poetry should represent life. He knew that life was complex, so that is why his poetry was difficult to understand not only for students writing research papers, but also for critics. He was the backbone of modernist poetry, who wrote mostly about darkness, despair, and depression in life. He tried and succeeded to capture the torment of the world during World War 1 and World War II (Shmoop "T.S. Eliot"). Eliot’s view of the human condition is evident in “The Hollow Men” through the issues of fear, despair, and depression.
The poem starts out with a couplet. The first line talks about a man who is dead. In the second line it talks about giving a penny to an old guy. Why does Eliot address that Mistah Kurtz is dead? Who is he? Mistah Kurtz was a character in the story Heart of Darkness. He was a trader who used idealism to justify various crimes. This would make him like a Hollow Man (Abdul Sattar Gopang, Muhammad Khan Sangi, and Abdul Fattah Soomro 2). And why does the old guy need a penny? The “old guy needs a penny” refers to Guy Fawkes Day. This day stands for the discovery of a plan created by Guy Fawkes to blow up the king with two tons of gunpowder. He was captured and killed. From then on, people have burned statues of Guy Fawkes filled with straw. This man is used by Eliot as a symbol to show that modern men are empty, just like the straw effigies (Abdul Sattar Gopang, Muhammad Khan Sangi, and Abdul Fattah Soomro 1). The poem continues into the first stanza where there is a group of Hollow Men leaning together. What do the Hollow Men represent? The Hollow Men represent a human like being with the absence of anything that makes life worth living (Abdul Sattar Gopang, Muhammad Khan Sangi, and Abdul Fattah Soomro 2). The narrator also says the Hollow Men are stuffed with straw. Why are the Hollow Men stuffed with straw? The Hollow Men are stuffed with straw to show that they are not fully human (Shmoop "The Hollow Men Analysis"). The narrator is one of the Hollow Men and says they are meaningless when they whisper together. He gives several examples of meaningless things such as wind in dry grass, and rats’ feet over broken glass in a cellar. Why does the story sound so quiet? The story is quiet because Eliot wants to get the point across that the Hollow Men truly are not significant in any way. Even when they talk amongst themselves, they amount to nothing (Shmoop "The Hollow Men Analysis"). The narrator goes on to say that people who die see the Hollow Men before they pass onto death’s other kingdom. What do the dead people pass over? The dead people pass over the river Styx, which in greek mythology is the pathway you must cross in order to go to Heaven or Hell (Shmoop "The Hollow Men Analysis"). He makes a point to say that the Hollow Men are not lost as violent souls. Why do the Hollow Men stay around the area where people cross from life to the afterlife? The Hollow Men do not...

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