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The Hollow Men

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Alexis Thomann

on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men
Literary Elements
Time Period
Post Great War Europe
Early half of 1920's
During reconstruction from war damages
The poem is about a kind of purgatory that "Hollow Men" got to after death. (hell for the wimpy)
The Hollow men are stuck in between Heaven and Hell
They can not touch anyone or talk they can only watch
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.

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

Disillusionment of Post-Great War Society-overarching theme
Feelings of being alone in the world (lines 45-51)
Loss of individuality (line 11)
Feeling of emptiness-hollow
Many ideas relate to the existentialism ideals- being alone in the world, no point to life...
Further Analysis
By: T.S. Eliot
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 kingdoms
Representation of feelings of being forgotten by God (the eyes)
"Broken jaw of our Kingdoms" reference to weakening of people's faith
The hollow men are dying of loneliness and hopelessness- there is nothing left for them
Emphasizes the pointlessness of life
Epigraphs- used to help focus the theme
One relates to death and the other is about a holiday where they burn people made out of straw
- relates to people that are stuck in between heaven and hell
They are forever trapped not being able to make human contact
Children's song- Mullbery bush; gives it an eerie tone
Lord's Prayer- broken into pieces
stresses the hollow men's separation from Heaven
no particular rhythm
makes poem staggered and confusing- mimics the thoughts of the hollow men
reiterates the ideas
adds to the creepy tone
Hell, dryness and eyes are reoccurring themes
Towards the end of the poem the lines become more fragmented
Past lines are cut short
People expect the world to end with some kind of explosion, they think it will be some huge event, but the world will end with just "a whimper."
The end of the world is pathetic because life is useless and meaningless, no point to go out with a bang
Although a major theme of this piece is being hollow, the audience is never specifically told that the men are hollow or that just life is hollow. In fact, this gives the reader the opportunity to infer what they want.
Changing of scenery:
Even though the scenery changes the whole poem is describing the time between heaven and hell. The hollow men are not yet in hell but they aren't in Heaven. They are just stuck in a torturous state.This shows the creativity Eliot uses to show his beliefs during this dark age.
Dryness is shown to be a major part of this piece as well. Although part of the poem is in a desert the dryness is also shown by the lack of water. This lack of water means lack of human life because humans need water to survive. This implies that the bodies are dead and dry.
"Hollow men" refers to the meaningless life these people lived.
In contrast, "stuffed men" were people who "filled" their life with meaning.
they deserve a multifoliate rose
symbolic for paradise
"This is the dead land"
post war land
written after WW1 during reconstruction

Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion
Empty because the things, just like the hollow men, are missing something else that will make them real
Trembling with tenderness
lips that would kiss
form prayers to broken stone.
Describes their hope of being able to touch someone, even though they know there is no hope
They are dead and they can't change anything about their situation
They do not think about their situation and they do not believe its better in Heaven or in Hell
Full transcript