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The Hollow Men

T.S. Eliot

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response to dylan
Added by: india
once you analyze it, you realize how cool this poem is! it actually makes a very interesting comment about religion and the modern person. i didn't like it either at first, but we had to anylize it for english...
guy fawkes
Added by: sazjo
This is probably completely irrelevant to the poem as a whole but i would just like to point out that Jen's comment is slightly wrong historically. Guy Fawkes was a Catholic under James I 's Protestant reign. James imposed heavy fines on Catholics who did not attend Protestant churches. Fawkes and others hatched a plot in 1604 to blow up the King and as many Parliament members as possible.(not over a battle with the Irish!! sorry) They were caught and ever since on November 5th an effigy of Guy Fawkes (made of straw and rags) is burnt on a bonfire. Children traditionally compete to make the best 'guy' and ask for donations of a penny to the best effort.
its about WWI men
Added by: Jenna
The poem "Hollow Men" is actually about men at war. the poem was written during the 1920's just a couple of years after World War I...this poem is T. S. Eliots reaction to the war. They are the hollow men because they never had a chance to experience life. At a very young age they were drafted to the war, and thereofre didnt have that stage in their life to develope..they were stuffed with violence. They never fulfilled their dreams "the dieing stars"

The poem also provides a contrast between reality and idealism. "here we go around the prickley pear..." if you look at this verse carefully it is very similar to a childhood rhyme "here we go around the merry-go -round"..it is a silly verse that takes us out from the cruelty of the poem, and places us into a child's world...In a sense he is mocking death.

In the end when he says "this is the way the world ends...." He is referring to the apathy of people. when the common person dies its not a big deal heard around the world, people go on with their lives like nthing happened. and so the world (a person's life) does nt end with a bang, but with a simple whimper unnoticed by others.
response to Jen
Added by: josh
Although it could be about the wwI men. It could mean anything to a person looking for answer to life. We are hollow coming into this world and whatever we decide to "stuff" ourselves with is our own choice. If we make the right choices in our lives. Predetermines our future after death and its up to us whether we choose to go to the dream kingdom which could symbolize heaven, or the lost kingdoms symbolizing hell. Take to your own beliefs for the answer. One other thing His faith played a role in almost everything that he wrote. Maybe he was trying to find his self and the stuff that created himself.
Added by: Lily
There is also a powerful criticism concerning religion in the final statements. There is this death in the final section, while offset on the right side the prayer excerpt "for thine is the kingdom." People are trained to pray, belive in something, and yet here they are, dying, trying to attain this peace by reciting a prayer... like in the back of their minds... but they die anywas. It's very sad, and bery powerful.

I adore this poem. No poetry to my knowledge isn't confusing...
Added by: Comrade
Moreover, there is a convincing reading put to me by some-one studying for his Ba Hons in Eng. This interpretation relies on the Christian faith of Eliot (at this point in his life), it is a generally accepted interpretation that the poem is a comment on the moral and spiritual emptiness of society at the time, indeed charecteristic of the disillusionment post-WW1.
response to donna
Added by: Kevin
"Life is very long" is a quote from Joseph Conrad's "An Outcast of the Islands"
Added by: Kate
In my lit class we discussed the possibility of the "Fading star" to perhaps be the star of Bethlaham, emphasizing the fadng religion and purity, sinking into death's kingdom. Just an idea!
nuclear issue
Added by: Adam Bader
I question the idea of the last four lines predicting a nuclear apocalypse. The poem was published in 1925, many years before the Hiroshima blast. A bomb, too, would seem a bang, not a whimper, and would thus contradict the final line.
Added by: Nat
The poem discusses many themes of death, life, religion and war and conveys a lot of interesting imagery. When reading into the poem more and its social background it becomes more apparent that it may be a social comment of the 1920s referring to war and religion. Maybe Eliot is commenting on experiences he himself faced with religion.

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