Darkness and Desperation in the The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliott Essay

Darkness and Desperation in the The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliott Essay

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In the poem “The Hollow Men,” T.S. Eliot immediately gives his work a tone of darkness and desperation. Eliot also uses references of works from Dantes, Julius Caesar, and Joseph Conrad. These three men majorly influenced Eliot on his writings spiritually and intellectually. Eliot was going through a rough patch in his life during with his wife during the time that he wrote “The Hollow Men.” He reveals his views on contemporary life and uses the poem as a cry for relief from his personal troubles (“Explanation of: ‘The Hollow Men’ by T.S. Eliot.”) Also, this poem emphasizes how life was after World War 1 (“Eliot, T.S., 452). In “The Hollow Men,” Eliot reveals images of brokenness, darkness, and emptiness through his worldview on a decadent modern society (Gopang 2).
At the beginning of T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” there is a reference to Mistah Kurtz and his death. What is the significance of this? Mistah Kurtz is a servant in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Why did Eliot choose Kurtz? He is referenced in this poem because he is suspected of being hollow and lacking of human characteristics. People believe Kurtz is chosen for this passage because the poem is set up after the time of his death. Therefore, the men in the poem are referred to as “hollow,” like Kurtz (Shmoop Editorial Team.) Eliot also refers to the men in the poem as hollow and stuffed. Considering those words are two completely opposite comparisons, how are these men both hollow and stuffed at the same time? These men are lacking of something essential in their lives. They are stuffed with emptiness, like straw, which causes them to lean on each other because they are unable to support themselves (Shmoop Editorial Team.) The men are whispering together. What a...


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...foliate rose? A Multifoliate rose is a rose with many pedals. Eliot uses this rose in reference to Dante Alighieri. The rose represents the community of Heaven. In regards to the hollow men, the point is that they cannot save themselves. All of their hope comes from the heavenly souls who must come down and save them.



Works Cited

“Eliot, T.S.,.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 16th ed. 2003. Print.
“Explanation of: ‘The Hollow Men’ by T. S. Eliot.” LitFinder Contemporary Collection.
Detroit: Gale, 2010. LitFinder. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Gopang, Abdul Sattar, Muhammad Khan Sangi, and Abdul Fattah Soomro. “T. S. Eliot’s
Indigenous Critical Concepts and ‘The Hollow Men.’” Language In India Apr. 2012: 473+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Hollow Men." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11
Nov. 2008. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.

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