The Hollow Men

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  • The Hollow Men
    • Context
      • Inspiration / references
        • Whole poem seems as though it has been deeply inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy and the idea for the Hollow men comes from Dante's Inferno
          • In Canto of Dante's inferno, his guide refers to a group of people wondering around aimlessly and miserably as having: "no hope of death, and their blind life... The world does not permit report of them. Mercy and justice hold them in contempt."
            • This group sounds a lot like the hollow men. Especially in lines 13-18
              • These men didn't take part in the universal battle between good and evil. Dante and Eliot thought these were the worst kind of people as they were too indifferent to even do bad things
    • Lines
      • Section One
        • 1-4
          • The men are both "hollow" and "stuffed."
            • The men are missing something and are trying to fill that gap with other things, like "straw" but they are still "hollow"
              • Link to Guy Fawkes epigraph, in which effigies are filled with straw
                • Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the government. His legacy is carried on by the tradition of making effigies of him. These men are hollow and are "leaning together," supporting each other. Link to Eliot's hate of Modernism?
        • 5-10
          • The men are "whispering," scared to be heard.
            • Why are they so scared to be heard? Possible link to Guy Fawkes hiding?
        • 11-12
          • Uses all contradictory /juxtaposed images
            • "Shape without form,"
            • "Shade without colour"
              • All of these lines are missing something. The colour is missing it's shade, the gesture is missing it's motion, just like the hollow men are missing something.
                • "Shape without form,"
        • 13-18
          • Link to epigraph
            • They are talking about people who have all ready passed into "Death's other Kingdom" or Heaven. They have been scrutinised under "direct eyes," that the Hollow men do not want to be viewed with, in case people find out about what kind of people they have been.
      • Section Two
        • 19-28
          • They are too ashamed to confront the reality of what they have become. They live in a fragmented world of "broken" and "fading" objects.
          • Keeps bringing up the ides of eyes. In this case, it is eyes they "dare not meet." Probably because they are ashamed of what they have become
        • 29-38
          • The hollow men do not want to enter "death's dream kingdom," for fear of those truth-revealing eyes
            • They hide under disguises to try and avoid it
              • Such deliberate disguisesRat's coat, crowskin
      • Section Three
        • 39-44
          • The "stone images" could represent false idols. The dead man is begging the stones
        • 45-51
          • The Hollow men begin to wonder what is is like in Heaven, but they don't think that it could be much better.
          • Also further reveals how bad the Hollow men's lives are and that they're blasphemous
      • Section Four
        • 54-56
          • Brings back the idea of eyes. But in this section, "There are no eyes." The hollow men feel safe away from Heaven's pondering eyes where they are, in their "hollow valley."
        • 57-60
          • The Hollow men are not in a wet place, in contrast to earlier sections which dealt with dryness.
            • This wet place could be the river Styx, where the Hollow men are together, waiting for the Charon (who doesn't show up,) to take them to death.
    • Form
      • If anything, the form is freeverse. It almost seems like a disjointed dramatic monologue.
    • Section Five
      • 68-71
        • The Hollow men dance and sing a childrens song around a prickly pear (link to dryness) at 5:00am, unaware that this is the traditional time of Christ's ressurection
      • 72-76
        • Same idea from lines 12-13 about things missing an essential componant
        • There is a shadow blocking them Hollow Men from their intentions
      • 77
        • The beginning of the Lord's prayer. But the Hollow men never reach then end. Maybe if they did, then they'd be saved.
      • 78-83
        • The idea of the shadow blocking something from progressing is made apparent in this stanza
      • 84-91
        • the Shadow prevents things that should naturally follow from one another from happening
          • The idea of the shadow blocking something from progressing is made apparent in this stanza
      • 92-94
        • Lord's prayer fragments again
      • 94-98
        • Continues Prickly Pear song. Is this the way that the world ends for everyone or Hollow men? Anticlimactic
  • Section One
    • 1-4
      • The men are both "hollow" and "stuffed."
        • The men are missing something and are trying to fill that gap with other things, like "straw" but they are still "hollow"
          • Link to Guy Fawkes epigraph, in which effigies are filled with straw
            • Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the government. His legacy is carried on by the tradition of making effigies of him. These men are hollow and are "leaning together," supporting each other. Link to Eliot's hate of Modernism?
    • 5-10
      • The men are "whispering," scared to be heard.
        • Why are they so scared to be heard? Possible link to Guy Fawkes hiding?
    • 11-12
      • Uses all contradictory /juxtaposed images
        • "Shade without colour"
          • All of these lines are missing something. The colour is missing it's shade, the gesture is missing it's motion, just like the hollow men are missing something.
      • 13-18
        • Link to epigraph
          • They are talking about people who have all ready passed into "Death's other Kingdom" or Heaven. They have been scrutinised under "direct eyes," that the Hollow men do not want to be viewed with, in case people find out about what kind of people they have been.

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