The Hollow Men By Thomas Stearns Eliot Essay

The Hollow Men By Thomas Stearns Eliot Essay

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Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was an American born poet who wrote many pieces of literature. He was a very well educated writer who studied philosophy, English and Hinduism at both Harvard and then Oxford University. He was also a magnificently beautiful writer. Eliot during his youth, and after he graduated, had read a substantial amount of literature due to a disability which had impaired his movements. It is believed that he was the mostly widely-read person of the 20th Century. His most favourite genre that he indulged in was poetry and many of the works paved way for modern poetry/literature. He received a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. His first work, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1917), is considered, in my opinion, the predecessor to his most influential work, The Waste Land (1922). The Hollow Men (1925) is considered to be a follow up to the Wasteland. All three writings share similar themes and interconnect with each other in some retrospect. The topic that I investigated is the portrayal of the decline of Western Culture and Spiritualism through T.S. Eliot’s selected poems: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land and The Hollow Men. Eliot shows this by modern decay; the metamorphosis of romance and fertility; the downfall of the inner human spirit.

The Waste Land incorporates a vast majority of the destruction of the inner spirit. Many times he masterfully takes direct quotes from famous books/plays/poems etc. and gracefully blends them into his works. In a scene of Chapter I the speaker says:

“Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind
Wo weilest du?”

The lines are lifted from the opening lines of Richard Wagner 's German opera Tristan und (and) Isolde . The scene shows of a sail...

... middle of paper ...

...has changed and warped into an ugly figure and this is clearly evident in Chapter III (The Fire Sermon) of The Waste Land. In a brutal scene, Eliot describes a sex scene between a husband and wife through the eyes of Tiresius, a Greek myth figure who to the reader seems like God without any control. He has been both a man and woman before and is now ‘blind’ but is able to witness everything that happens in the world:

“Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.”

The woman does not seem interested in participating and it seems like a chore to her. Though she doesn’t put up any restraint or defence, suggesting that she still wants to do it. This infuriated Eliot and he believed that modern romance had turned into undignified sex, with no love in between. This theme is linked with various parts of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

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