Category: The hollow men shmoop

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. The Hollow Men have the same problem as the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz : they have straw for brains. Because they lack intelligence or at least the kind of intelligence that matters in the spiritual worldthey also lack the ability to fully understand their condition. They can only cry out "Alas!

Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. The Hollow Men's dissatisfaction expresses itself as curiosity about whether things are just as bad in Heaven.

Specifically, they Hollow Men have natural feelings of love and "tenderness" but can't act on them. In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river lines In addition to missing out on the joys of love, the Hollow Men do not have a true community.

They "grope together" on the river so as not to be alone, but they don't even talk to one another. As self-interested individuals, they have no concern for others. Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow lines The Hollow Men suffer from moral paralysis — the inability to act or follow through on any of their natural feelings and capabilities.

Have you ever experienced this problem in some area of your life?

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Because the Hollow Men can never act, except on behalf of their own narrow interests, their lives just fizzle out into a meaningless moan of unhappiness. You could think of the whole poem as their "whimper" of complaint. Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; lines The Hollow Men live in a world that lacks essential qualities of reality.

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This helps to explain their total passivity and inability to accomplish anything. Remember us—if at all—not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. The Hollow Men want heavenly souls to "remember" that as pathetic and passive as they are, at least they were not "violent souls" who committed atrocious and evil deeds.

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But the poem judges them for being so weak that, even if they wanted to, they couldn't pull off a bold and wicked action. It's interesting that being passive is seen here as worse than being evil. Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: lines The passivity of the Hollow Men often manifests itself as cowardice.

This gives us another excuse to make a connection with The Wizard of Oz : they not only resemble the scarecrow without a brain, but also the "cowardly" lion without a brave heart. Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer— lines Calm down, guys.Add to list. Old Guy: a cry of English children on the streets on Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, when they carry straw effigies of Guy Fawkes and beg for money for fireworks to celebrate the day.

Fawkes was a traitor who attempted with conspirators to blow up both houses of Parliament in ; the "gunpowder plot" failed.

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Kingdom: Those who have represented something positive and direct are blessed in Paradise. The reference is to Dante's "Paradiso". Eyes: eyes of those in eternity who had faith and confidence and were a force that acted and were not paralyzed. The damned must cross this river to get to the land of the dead. Multifoliate rose: in dante's "Divine Comedy" paradise is described as a rose of many leaves. Kingdom: the beginning of the closing words of the Lord's Prayer.

Like Marco Bettoni - But why do we live as shadows?

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Another "shadow" is involved as an essential cause: what we say is only the shadow of what we wanted to say thought. So, our world of communication is a world inhabited by shadows Barddylbach - Anyone… Does this now sound so so, so familiar to you? I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw.

BlueBird75 - Does anyone know what the song in the beginning of Act V means? Thequeenofdarkendreams - Heartfelt poem. Deb5 - This has an especially eerie tone in our present social and political climate, which has probably been true - to some extent - in every age. Pen Pal 22 - I love Eliot's use of figurative language and description here.

It is by far my favorite T. S Eliot poem. Pragjyotish - My favorite poet. Eliot was the ultimate heavyweight of poetry.

The Hollow Men Themes

Her and I actually hang out on the weekends and Netflix and Chill. Phil89 - What a highly profound work of art. Eliot's style was so far ahead of it's time and is such a joy to read. It meanders along and carries you off into a wonderful place where intricacies and syllables scarcely matter. As a result of reading this book, I began to entertain the idea of reading some of Eliot's work. I thought he was a decent poet; I was wrong. He has a style to rival that of Edgar Allan Poe. Nobody - this is a master piece.

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I remember reading it in high school and it was only recently that I understood what the hollow men were. Has amazing depth and very clever use of language.Eliot The hollow men wait for the final destruction because between now and then there is only an endless series of birth, death, and rebirth which is inescapable and which is, in itself, a waste land not only because it is inevitable, but because it offers no salvation from the wheel on which they turn.

The eyes and the rose may well be symbols like the Holy Grail; a salvation sought but unattainable. The hollow men, like the knights of the Grail legends, quest for salvation, but because they are blind, spiritually and physically, they cannot find what they seek. They are not even pure enough to pass those first initiation rites indicated in The Waste Land. The Hollow Men poem begins with two epigraphs; one is from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, 'Mistah Kurts-he dead' and the other is 'A penny for the old Guy' which is an expression by school children to buy firecrackers to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day.

On this day straw effigies are burnt. The five sections of the poem are narrated by a Hollow Man. In the first part of the poem, a group of hollow men are shown leaning on each other like the scarecrows. Everything about their characteristics is absolutely dry and dull.

the hollow men shmoop

Their voices are dry, bodies are shapeless, and shades are colorless and are as dry as the grass in the wind. Their life is projected as absurd and meaningless life. They want to raise a voice, but are timid and cannot even have access to the hell. They are only stuffed as hollow. In the second part of the poem, one of the hollow men is found feeling afraid of looking at the people who made it to "death's dream kingdom" which may be either hell or heaven.

All the hollow men are living in a world full of broken symbols and images. The setting is barren and brown, filled with cactus and stones in the third section of the poem. The hollow men cannot even kiss someone if they desire to. They only can say prayers to the broken stones. In the section four, the hollow men of section two, goes on describing his vacant, desolate environment.The first refers to Mr.

Kurtz is a corrupt European ivory trader who fashions himself into a demigod to gain power in Africa. He dies on a boat on the Congo River. The narrator Charles Marlow witnesses his death. The horror! The second epigraph—"A penny for the Old Guy"—alludes to Guy Fawkesa notorious conspirator who tried to blow up British Parliament in the failed Gunpowder Plot of Britons celebrate his downfall on November 5 by burning his likeness in effigy and lighting fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day.

the hollow men shmoop

The epigraph "A penny for the Old Guy" is in the voice of a child, offering an effigy of Fawkes to burn, while begging for money to buy fireworks. The first stanza of the poem imagines a group of scarecrows leaning together on a dry riverbank. They lament their condition: their bodies paralyzed, their language meaningless. On the other side of the river, ancestors who have died see the men on the arid bank as hollow because they are too inert to act even violently; they are neither moral nor immoral, but stuck in a purgatory of amoral inaction.

The poem begins with allusions to two people who can be considered versions of the "hollow men" of the title. Both Kurtz and Guy Fawkes tried to live immoral lives of anarchy and violence, attempting to abandon or destroy Protestant Christianity. Both ultimately failed, and died ignominious deaths. Taken together, the two quotes make a surprising, pathetic appeal for these hollow men.

The melancholic tone suggests that the poem is a kind of elegy, written to lament the deaths of these characters, and opens the questions: Why sympathize with failed villains? What is the relationship between ethics and death? Understanding the context of both of these allusions also establishes the setting and central motif of the hollow men.

Kurtz dies while attempting to cross a river on a boat. This foreshadows an important symbolic setting in the poem. The Guy Fawkes effigy introduces the straw man as a central motif. The first stanza starts with a paradox: hollow and stuffed, empty and full, opposites occurring simultaneously. This suggests a presence without meaning. The headpiece filled with straw conjures a singular mind: once living like grass, that has now dried and is dead.Eliot is a free verse poem that was written without a specific rhyme scheme or meter in mind.

The poem is made up of stanzas of varying lengths, grouped together into five distinct sections. Altought there is no rhyming pattern, Eliot does not make use of a number of poetic techniques that help to unify the lines.

The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

The men are depicted as living dry, barren, and broken lives. Everything around then seems to be falling apart. Other important images a reader should pay attention to are those related to Heaven, or a place like it, and a vaguely defined shadowy presence. The men are exiting somewhere between life and death, in a world they have no agency in. It becomes clear as the poem progresses that they are unable to enter into true death. There is no money for them to cross the river.

Instead they have to wait for something to change. At the end of the poem the men are described as dancing around a cactus and singing. Even in this context, they are unable to finish the song or their prayers to God. The poem ends with the speaker stating that the world is going to end anticlimactically. There will be no big explosion, instead it will go out with a whisper.

His connection to the poem likely comes from a quote describing him as being hollow. He does not have a moral compass to guide him or the instincts of a decent human being. The second epigraph is slightly more complicated and is connected to the historical figure Guy Fawkes and his plot to blow up Parliament in the early s.

One should also consider other connections between death and a penny or coin. The most important is Charon, the ferryman who is responsible for guiding the newly dead across the River Styx. Without a coin to pay him, one would become stuck. This is partially the situation that the Hollow Men are in. Their voices, like the rest of their lives and the setting, are dry. The speaker also describes a scenario in which someone who knows them crossed into their land.

The second section of the poem begins with a ten line stanza. Here, the speaker describes another feature of the Hollow Men. They are unable to look anyone directly in the eyes. This is one of the best examples of Eliot tying together different images to produce a larger result.JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser.

For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. You can't blame the Hollow Men for being dissatisfied. They are trapped in the desert on the bank of a river they can't get across. In fact, you would expect them to be even more ticked off than they are. But quite frankly, they can't even muster the enthusiasm to complain. They try not to say anything at all. When you don't have a proper soul, it's harder to get worked up about soul-crushing misery.

The Hollow Men are like the souls in Canto 3 of Dante's Infernowho are so bland and cowardly that they are excluded even from the fantastically grotesque torments of Hell. How much do the Hollow Men understand about their own condition?

Do they recognize the extent of their own unhappiness? Did God punish the Hollow Men, or did they get what was coming to them? If so, of what does their punishment consist? If not, isn't being ignored by God a punishment in and of itself? Do you think the Hollow Men suffer more from their physical condition, or from the knowledge that they cannot enter Heaven? How much do they know about Heaven?

How would explain the reference to their "lost kingdoms" in line 56? What kingdoms did they lose? The Hollow Men do not realize how unhappy they are because they do not understand the joys of Heaven enough to know what they are missing.

The Hollow Men understand the joys of Heaven at an emotional, but not an intellectual, level. Thus, they are deeply unhappy as they intuit their damnation but cannot explain it. The Hollow Men have a bad case of "the Shadow. But the Hollow Men have it even worse. They can't even respond to their own emotions.

the hollow men shmoop

The Shadow represents their cowardice and the failure of their will. They can't even look the "eyes" in, well, the eyes. They turn around and around like the wind and wait on the bank of a river. What is the comparison with scarecrows in the poems supposed to suggest? Are they actually scarecrows, or is it just a metaphor? What would it take to save the Hollow Men? What human characteristics are they lacking?

What does the Shadow do that keeps them from acting? Have you ever felt something like the Shadow that preventing you from doing something? Is doing nothing and remaining neutral worse than actively committing evil? Why or why not? The Hollow Men have been damned for their cowardice and weakness of will, symbolized by "the Shadow.

They envy the violent souls for their ability to at least look goodness in the eye, even if only to spit on it. The Hollow Men all speak as one because they have the same identity: an empty one.Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App.

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The Hollow Men Themes

Eliot anywhere you go: on a plane, on a mountain, in a canoe, under a tree. Or grab a flashlight and read Shmoop under the covers. Shmoop's award-winning Poetry Guides are now available on your eReader. Shmoop eBooks are like having a trusted, fun, chatty, expert poetry-tour-guide always by your side, no matter where you are or how late it is at night.

This Shmoop Poetry Guide offers fresh analysis, a line-by-line close reading of the poem, examination of the poet's technique, form, meter, rhyme, symbolism, jaw-dropping trivia, a glossary of poetry terms, and more. Best of all, Shmoop's analysis aims to look at a topic from multiple points of view to give you the fullest understanding. Experts and educators from top universities, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Harvard, have written Shmoop guides designed to engage you and to get your brain bubbling.

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