Project 2 - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 10 May 2013 Emptiness and Darkness in Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” Without a solid identity with worthwhile aspirations, people are mere hollow vessels. T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” uses allusion to emphasize the themes of emptiness and darkness of materialism in modern life…
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Download file to see previous pages Modern society is filled with hollow people who worship power and materialism, and it is a bad situation because they cannot be redeemed, until their deaths, when they whimper with the sight of their own emptiness and darkness. “The Hollow Men” is about the modern society of hollow men because people are empty and dark without meaningful identities. They are empty because they are like Kurtz who are consumed with pursuit of power and wealth. The allusion to Kurtz in the epigraph says something about this pursuit: “Mistah Kurtz- he dead” (Eliot). The native who says this is lost after their master is gone, a master who nurtured them to believe that power and wealth are the only things important in the world. He is one of the hollow men with hollow gods. The repetition of “we” signifies the rise of the majority that has the same thinking: “We are the hollow men/We are the stuffed men…Headpiece filled with straw” (Eliot 1-2, 4). They are hollow because they have stuffed their heads with the thinking that modern life should be based on the accumulation of wealth and power. Furthermore, the hollow men are dark because they conform to meaningless social norms. The poem describes the way they move: “We whisper together /Are quiet and meaningless/As wind in dry grass/Or rats' feet over broken glass” (Eliot 6-9). ...
The rats’ feet over the glass shards indicate the rat race that they run, and the glass is broken because they cannot see that materialism has dehumanized them completely. Their identities are empty, hollow without meaning in and after life. Aside from meaningless identities, the poem shows that the hollow men want to be redeemed, but they cannot achieve it because they fear the knowledge of their wasted lives. The allusion to Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is present in the poem. The hollow men say: “Eyes I dare not meet in dreams/In death's dream kingdom” (Eliot 19-20). These lines can pertain to Dante who cannot look into Beatrice’s eyes yet because he is impure. In addition, the hollow men cannot be saved, until they die and see the depths of their emptiness and darkness. Eliot revises the children’s song on the mulberry bush: “Here we go round the prickly pear/At five o'clock in the morning” (70-71). The hollow men want redemption, as Christ died during this time. But they cannot be redeemed until their deaths: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper” (Eliot 97-98). The whimper comes from seeing their lives as Kurtz had- horrified at the emptiness and darkness of their hearts. “The Hollow Men” is a reflection of the dead on the living. It manifests their desire to know what led them to be hollow. The hollow men are real men in modern society. They want power and wealth for itself, and as it becomes a constant pursuit, they are dehumanized. They become hollow with gaping space of darkness and emptiness in their souls. The saddest thing is that they vastly multiply, for the whispers of power and wealth have taken easily over the lives of many women and men, ringing loudly, turning ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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