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Voice In T.S. Eliot's The Hippopotamus, The Hollow Men, And Journey Of The Magi

1877 words - 8 pages

Voice in T.S. Eliot's The Hippopotamus, The Hollow Men, and Journey of the Magi

Poetry has meaning. This meaning is usually a message, and a message
is projected though a voice. When we read poetry we hear this voice.
The voices projected in the T.S. Eliot poems 'The Hippopotamus', 'The
Hollow Men' and 'Journey of the Magi' are particularly strong, and the
voice carries a lot of meaning to the readers. The voice is three
things; the voice of the poetry in relation to Eliot, the voice of the
poetry, and the individual reader's interpretation of the voice. If
something changes in Eliot's life, or if he is influenced by
something, it may be reflected in his poetry. T.S. Eliot once said 'a
large part of ay poet's "inspiration" must come from his reading and
from his knowledge of history.'[1] As he is writing the poem, his
voice is sounded in the voice of the poem. The voice projected through
a poem is a solid message projected by poetic techniques, but the
voice that is heard inside the readers head varies from reader to
reader, depending on their background. There are some core things that
alter the voice that Eliot's poetry projects: the nationality of the
reader and whether or not they are familiar with the society Eliot is
writing about, what religion, if any, they belong to, and how well
read a reader is (Eliot makes many allusions in his poetry) will
effect the voice that they hear from Eliot's work. From studying
Eliot's poetry, however, the voice Eliot intended to project can be
determined. All of these three elements (Eliot, the poem, and the
reader) create the final voice of the poem. Because the voices that
the readers hear are different, due to their different circumstances,
their responses will also be different. A reader could respond to a
poem positively, negatively, or with some feeling or emotion the voice
of the poem has influenced them to feel. While reading the poem they
may feel some of the emotions, but it is the final voice of the entire
poem that will influence the reader's response.

The poem 'The Hollow Men' shows the various thoughts, emotions and
journey's of men who have died, but do not belong in one particular
afterlife because they have done no good, but done no evil. The poem
is saying 'you should do something with your life, because then you
will have a determined afterlife. If you do evil things in your life,
you will go to the inferno, but at least you are going somewhere. If
you do good things, you go to paradise. That is the best. But don't
just do nothing, because you will end up standing around waiting for
nothing in an empty desert, like the hollow men.' Eliot read and
admired works of Dante Alighieri. In his work Divina Commedia Dante
describes his beliefs on the afterlife; that for the "lost/violent
souls" there was an inferno, for the not so...

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