Eliot and The Hollow Men

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T. S. Eliot has always incorporated or reflected the idea of disillusionment in a young generation after World War I. This means they were no longer believing the same ideals as they were before. Just after his years in college, he saw everyone broken and hopeless after the war (Shmoop “T.S. Eliot”). His first work greatly conveying this idea is The Wasteland, which contains a lot of hopelessness and depression (Shmoop “T.S. Eliot”). Eliot saw that life is brutal and difficult and believed that this must also be conveyed in poetry (Shmoop “T.S. Eliot”). After studying at Harvard, Eliot moved to England to receive his doctorate at Oxford. However, he loved the country, and married a woman with the wrong intent of keeping himself there. Unfortunately, he did not love the woman, and felt just as broken as The Wasteland (Shmoop “T.S. Eliot”). In “The Hollow Men,” Eliot uses his idea of post-war disillusionment and despair by incorporating images of hollowness, emptiness, dryness, silence, and death.
In “The Hollow Men,” Eliot starts off with a proclamation by an unknown party calling themselves the hollow and stuffed men. Eliot gives a recurring theme throughout this poem of hollow and dryness. He uses a party of no specified number to narrate the poem. When he states that they are hollow or stuffed, it shows that they are without human qualities and basically empty (Gopang, Sangi, and Soomro 473). Eliot specifically uses the pronoun “we,” leaving the reader questioning who exactly that may be. They are a representative for the people who were left to feel empty after World War I, which had just ended at the time (Gopang, Sangi, and Soomro 473). This immediately points back to Eliot’s idea of despair. He goes on to describe them “l...

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...ed. However, there is always pain and despair in war. One should look at the bright side of the war. So many people benefitted from the freedom from Austrian and German oppression. Not all results of the war were hopeless, but promising for the future.

Works Cited
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. 20 Jan. 2014.
Jeon, Joseph Jonghyun. "Eliot Shadows: Autography and Style in the Hollow Men." Yeats Eliot Review 24.4 (2007): 12+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Hollow Men Analysis." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "T.S. Eliot." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.
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