Eliot And The Hollow Men

1784 Words Mar 14th, 2016 8 Pages
T.S. Eliot and “The Hollow Men”
In the height of the modernist poetry movement, T.S. Eliot wrote his highly acclaimed poem, “The Hollow Men” (Constantakis 55). In his writing, he encompassed the culture and personal turmoil surrounding him (Constantakis 51). The effects of World War I lingered in society allowing for the existentialist philosophies of Nietzsche, Sartre, and Freud to seep into common thought (Constantakis 56). Amidst the crushing failure of progressive modernism, Eliot found himself dissatisfied leading him to draw back to the church that he had previously rejected. Unifying intellect and faith proved to be a stumbling block to Eliot, but he continued to strive for a balance between the physical world and the abstract (Constantakis 51). Although not direct, literature, specifically modern technique, is a way for Eliot to express his struggles. Eliot’s personal and cultural turmoil manifest in the themes, style, and imagery in “The Hollow Men.” Even through the overarching sensation of fragmentation, death, and religious failure, Eliot gives a symbol of hope to those who are lost.
Before even reading the poem, one can see the remnants of struggle and death. From the title, Eliot adds visual imagery of corpses to start the mood and foreshadow the themes of the poem (Constantakis 54). Two epigraphs follow the title. The first alludes to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Saunders 61). Conrad’s novel and Eliot’s poem share similar themes, as Heart of Darkness is…
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