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"The Hollow Men" T.S. Eliot

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Reagan Arnett

on 3 March 2015

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Transcript of "The Hollow Men" T.S. Eliot

Stanza 1
Literary Devices for Stanza 1
First Epigraph: “Mistah Kurtz-he dead.” : The speaker alludes to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz was described as being “hollow to the core” and lacking human and moral nature.
Second Epigrah: “A penny for the Old Guy”: This is a traditional cry of children on Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was executed for attempting to blow up Parliament and the king. His is one of the “lost/violent souls” that the speaker describes.
Simile (lines 5-9): The speaker compares their voices as being as “quiet and meaningless” as the wind or “rats’ feet over broken glass”. These sound like rattling or scraping.
Repetition (lines 5, 8, 10): The speaker repeats the word “dry” to describe how hollow the men are.
Metaphor (lines 11-12): The speaker describes examples of objects with missing essentials.
“Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion”
Allusion to Dante’s Paradiso (line 14): In Paradiso, Dante talks about direct eyes that are blessed by God in Heaven.

2nd Stanza
The second stanza describes a hollow man who is afraid to look at people who made it to “death’s dream kingdom”. The hollow men live in a world of broken images and symbols.

Literary Devices in Stanza 2
Biblical Allusion (line 20): The speaker alludes to “death’s dream kingdom” which is Heaven.
Metaphor (37-38): The “twilight kingdom” could either refer to the Last Judgment in Christian theology or the end of the world.

3rd Stanza
The third stanza describes the land that the hollow men live in as barren, dry, and filled with cacti. It describes how the hollow men are not able to kiss, and they have to pray to “broken stone” and asking them to help them out.

Literary Devices of Stanza 3
Metaphor (line 43) The speaker talks about a “dead man.” The dead man is the hollow man, but they are dead in a sense that they cannot cross over into the kingdom of death.
Metaphor (line 44) The star that the speaker mentions represents hope or salvation. However, their hope is fading because of the speaker’s use of the words “twinkle” and “fading”

Stanza 4
In this stanza,Hope is compared to dying stars and all the Hollow men gather together in their final meeting place

Literary Devices of Stanza 4
Line55: The valley alludes to Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me
Line 56: Each Hollow Man's specific kingdom has been broken like a broken jaw
Line 60: The river alludes to the river Styx, which souls have to cross in order to reach their final fate
Lines 62-63: A simile compares their eyes to perpetual stars
Line 64: The multifoliate flower is an allusion to Dante's Paradiso. The pedals of the flower are the souls in heaven
Stanza 5
First epigraph is an allusion to a children's song "here we go 'round the mulberry bush" except instead of a berry bush it is a cactus
Line 77 is an allusion to the Lord's Prayer. The hollow men are trying to complete a prayer but they are unsuccessful
Line 77 repetition of the word kingdom
Third epigraph: the shadow again prevents one thing from leading to another
Line 83: Life is of course eternal life. Which is a long time
Fourth epigraph: lines 84-85 is a reference to sex
Lines 76, 82, & 90: Repetition of the shadow prevent natural occurrences
Lines 91-94: Again the hollow men try to recite the Lord's Prayer and save their souls but fail
Fifth epigraph: another adaptation of the song "here we go 'round the mulberry bush.
The hollow men are singing around the cactus about how the world ends. It ends, perhaps not as one would expect, anticlimactically, with a soft, defeated whimper instead of a grand explosion
T.S. Eliot
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 26, 1888; died in Kendington, London, England, on January 4, 1965
Studied at Harvard University and Oxford University
He was the leading poet of the artistic movement called Modernism.
He and his friend Ezra Pound transformed English-language poetry, grounding their work in the power of images rather than in individual sentiment.
In his poems, he raises fundamental questions about human aspirations and the nature of civilized society.
He moved to England around World War I, an event that inspired the theme of despair many of his poems.
In 1927, he joined the Church of England in which he found an answer to the despair he wrote about. His religion shaped the writing of “Journey of the Magi”, Ash Wednesday, and the Four Quartets
Most Famous Piece: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Other Works: Prufrock and Other Observations,
The Waste Land, and “Preludes”

"The Hollow Men" T.S. Eliot
Analysis: In the first stanza, the speaker describes a group of men that are hollow and stuffed like scarecrows. Everything they do and say is meaningless. People who have moved on from this state do not remember the men as violent souls but only as hollow men.

Diction: formal/ informal

Tone: hopeless, despair

Theme: Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
Vague dreams of salvation and no real plans to achieve this dream will leave hope to diminish.

Relation to the time period:
Eliot uses the power of images rather than individual sentiment to convey his message which was typical of the Modern Era.

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

The Hollow Men
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
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