The Hollow Men Essay

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At a point in all mortal’s existence, there will be a moment when their soul is between two states of being, waiting to be judged. Without the fearlessness and faith to move on to the afterlife, they will spend eternity stuck in purgatory. When T. S. Eliot wrote “The Hollow Men,” he used symbolism, imagery, and repetition to share his insight to address the lack of courage and faith that plagues every human being. T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” is a dramatic monologue, free verse poem that consists of five parts that could be considered five separate poems. His use of “allegorically abstract text nevertheless achieves a remarkable unity of effect in terms of voice, mood and imagery” (Morace 948). Before the poem starts, there are two…show more content…
Part one of the poem opens with “We are the hollow men, / We are the stuffed men” (3-4). It also ends with “We are the hollow men, / We are the stuffed men” (19-20). This use of this repetition is to reinforce the notion that the “hollow men” are nothing but emptiness. “The image of “hollow men” who are “Leaning together” is one of immobility” (Urquhart 199). “Shape without form, shade without color, / Paralyzed force, gesture without motion” (13-14) confirms the image that the “hollow men” are meaningless, nothing more than a scarecrow “lacking embodiment or substance” (Bloom 61). In part two of the poem, Eliot uses “eyes” as “an important and repeated image of spiritual insight” (Bloom 61). Unlike in part one where Eliot writes, “Those who have crossed / With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom” (15-16), “In part two, the Hollow Men… have vision that is refracted and distorted” (Bloom 61). “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” (21-25)
“The image suggests a ruin in a classical landscape painting, a symbol of a broken-down system of belief” (Bloom 61). The “hollow men” do not have the faith to be judged and move on to “death’s other Kingdom.” The lines in part three of the poem “This is the dead land / This is cactus land”
(41-42) serve as an image of a place lacking life.
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