Presentation on theme: " written in 1925 by Thomas Stearns Eliot. Where does this poem fit-chronologically or philosophically- into the poet's overall work? 1925: Eliot wrote."— Presentation transcript:
Where does this poem fit-chronologically or philosophically- into the poet's overall work? 1925: Eliot wrote this poem during a period of absence from Lloyds Bank in London, where he worked on foreign accounts. He had just suffered a nervous breakdown, and his marriage with Vivienne Haigh-Wood was unstable. This poem evokes depression of 1930s and sadness after the World War I (1914– 18) which caused hardship for the people and resulted in violence. Who is the speaker? What is the situation? The speakers are the “Hollow Men,” who seek for salvation in a condemned world. What is the main idea, central concept, gist, pith, or overarching theme of the poem? The main theme is this poem is the lack of hope in human society, the “hollowness” of the individuals in general and the sense of despair that was prevalent at that time. The poem expresses a spiritual journey of Eliot's “Hollow Men” towards salvation.
Mistah Kurtz –he dead. A penny for the Old Guy. The first line is an allusion to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: the words spoken by a servant to announce Kurtz's death. The main character, Marlow, accepts employment on a river boat in Africa and tells of his own journey into the heart of Africa, a dark world populated by morally empty men living only for ivory (with money and power that it brings). During his expedition, he meets Kurtz, the most evil man of them all, but also the only one who realizes the true horror of humanity. In the second quotation the epigraph alludes to England’s November 5 th tradition of Guy Fawkes Day. This individual belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. This epigraph seems to introduce the theme of hollowness, in which the two previously mentioned individuals encounter themselves with in their failed or meaningless mission.
1We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men. Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! 5Our dried voices, when We whisper together, Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rat’s feet over broken glass 10In our dry cellar. Shape without form, shade without color, Paralyzed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other kingdom 15Remember us –if at all- not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men, The stuffed men. Repetition, introducing the speaker Allusion: Guy Fawkes Day. Children ask for pennies to buy fireworks in order to burn straw figures of Fawkes Depressing tone Paradox: concepts are cancelling each other Highlighting the theme of meaningless. Allusion: Dante’s Paradiso Those who have crossed to death's other kingdom are the ones who left behind a state of spiritual emptiness (hell or purgatory) and entered into a recognition state ( or heaven). They are the ones who are capable of looking directly at life and the universe and seeing the inner truth. The ones blessed by God. Repetition
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams 20In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column. There, is a tree swinging 25 And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer 30In death’s dream kingdom. Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises: Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field 35Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer- Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom. Allusion: Dante ‘s The Divine Comedy Beatrice tells Dante how she came to him first in dreams to lead him back to the part of virtue. Just as Beatrice give Dante a chance for redemption by orchestrating his journey, all men also have the chance for redemption. Metaphor: eyes are light that guide the individual towards the right path, towards redemption Repetition of the word “voices”, with a depressing tone Allusion: both Dante and Marlow must face a meeting they greatly fear. Dante must meet Beatrice and face her divine beauty. Marlow also faces the meaning of his journey when he faces Kurtz's fiancé. Marlow also faces a moral twilight in which he chooses the shadow, as the sun sets. The twilight that sets is the choice the soul must face between light and darkness.
This is the dead land, 40This is the cactus land. Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. 45Is it like this, In death’s other kingdom Walking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness. 50Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. Repetition Allusion: to River Styx
The eyes are not here, There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars, 55In this hollow valley, This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms. In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech, 60Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star, Multifoliate rose 65Of death’s twilight kingdom. The hope only Of empty men. Repetition Depressing tone The Golden Bough offers an anthropological explanation; the Baganda (and African tribe) believe that the spirit of the dead clings to the jawbone. The jaw bone of their deceased king is made into an effigy and put in a temple. Again, since the bone is broken, any leadership that could have taken from the talisman is no longer available. Allusion: Dante’s Inferno The River Acheron, which the dead cross over as they pass into hell. Traditional symbol for God Allusion: Dante’s Paradiso Paradise was described as a “multifoliated rose” or a rose with many leaves. Also the rose is a traditional symbol for the Virgin Mary If the eyes reappear, so does hope and the possibility for salvation.
Here we go ‘round the prickly pear, Prickly pear, prickly pear. 70Here we go ‘round the prickly pear At five o’clock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality, Between the motion 75And the act, Falls the Shadow. For Thine is the Kingdom. Between the conception And the creation, 80Between the emotion And the response, Falls the Shadow. Children’s song: these lines parody a children's song that is derived from a fertility dance done around a mulberry bush 'on a cold and frosty morning'. A prickly pear is a desert cactus, continuing the desert imagery that is presented at the beginning of the third section of the poem. 5:00am is the traditional time of Christ's resurrection The Lord’s player Parallel structure Allusion to Julius Caesar
Life is very long. Between the desire 85And the spasm, Between the potency And the existence, Between the essence And the descent, 90Falls the Shadow. For Thine is the Kingdom. For Thine is Life is For Thine is the 95This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. Allusion: Conrad's An Outcast of the Islands, in which a broken man is punished by being kept alive rather than by being killed Parallel structure The Lord’s player Followed by the attempt of The Lord’s Prayer again Repetition The end will not be an apocalyptic catastrophe as suggested in the Bible, instead mankind will have slowly decay, a meaningless end.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, So early in the morning. This is the way we wash our clothes, We wash our clothes, we wash our clothes. This is the way we wash our clothes, So early Monday morning. This is the way we iron our clothes, We iron our clothes, we iron our clothes. This is the way we iron our clothes, So early Tuesday morning. This is the way we scrub the floor, We scrub the floor, we scrub the floor. This is the way we scrub the floor, So early Wednesday morning. This is the way we mend our clothes, We mend our clothes, we mend our clothes. This is the way we mend our clothes, So early Thursday morning. This is the way we sweep the house, We sweep the house, we sweep the house. This is the way we sweep the house, So early Friday morning. This is the way we bake our bread, We bake our bread, we bake our bread. This is the way we bake our bread, So early Saturday morning. This is the way we go to church, We go to church, we go to church. This is the way we go to church, So early Sunday morning.
The main theme is this poem is the lack of hope in human society: the “hollowness” of individuals in general and the sense of despair that was prevalent in the period just following World War I. The poem expresses a spiritual journey of Eliot's “Hollow Men” towards salvation. The “Hollow Men” represent all humankind; Eliot constructs a desolate world to explore our spiritual intention. In the beginning (“Shape without form, shade without color,/Paralyzed force, gesture without motion”), it seems like there is no hope for us; humankind is stuck in death’s other kingdom, since we haven't evolved spiritually. In hell, there is no light to guide individuals to the right path; the “eyes, [which] are/Sunlight on a broken column” don’t appear. There is hope only if the eyes reappear; however, it doesn’t, and humankind is still doomed. The “Hollow Men” are resigned to a state of suspension, unable to act due to their inability to turn conception into creation, emotion into response. The lack of essence in their life is what causes a meaningless ending.
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