The Hollow Men powerpoint

“We are the Hollow Men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw”
Although the poem has a direct allusion to the
historical account of Guy Fawkes, it can also
apply to the content of The Great Gatsby in
that the key character has a quest to find
meaning in his life.
The narrator of the Hollow Men is asking the
question that mattersWhat is the meaning / purpose of life? Hence
the direct philosophical relationship to
 Def: Nihilism: (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a
philosophical position which argues that existence is
without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.
Look at the apparent images of paradoxseemingly impossible contradictions◦ “shape without form, shade without colour
◦ Paralysed force, gesture without motion”
This is the paradox of life- Faith vs Reason.
Those that have crossed with direct eyes are
those that have seen ‘death’s other kingdom’
the reality of Heaven and Hell for themselves.
The speaker has no passion for life,
remember us well, if at all.
He is, perhaps, empty? Hollow?
Why would the narrator not want to meet our
eyes, not even in dreams?
Eyes are the window to the soul, he is afraid
he has no soul- Nihilism!
He finds that he cannot look into the eyes of
the Hollow Men, (others/us)- stuffed with
straw- again a paradox, but a pointed
comment on the reality of existence as he
sees it!
 There is a tree swinging… a reference to
Judas Escariot hanging himself
on a lonely tree, testament to
the idea of those who fail to live.
Than a fading star…another reference to faith.
Rats Coat, crowskin, crossed staves… another
The star that signified the birth of Christ and the
light of the world. If the star is fading is he
implying that the influence of Christ is fading?
reference to Hollow Men, this time scarecrows,
but also pointing towards a reminder
of Christ's crucifixion.
Again the final meeting is his own
judgment, he is afraid he has made
the wrong philosophical choice!
Blaise Pascal and his ‘Cosmic Gamble’-
Cosmology and Ontology!
This is the dead land..the cactus land..stone
images… a precursor to Eliot’s more famous
poem The Wasteland, images of religious
edifices raised to remember the dead, hollow
…supplication of a dead man’s hand/
under the twinkling of a fading star..”
Symbolic of the movement of the sign of the
cross over a grave, but under the dying
influence of a fading star. Irony.
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness…
The narrator pities himself, fears intimate
relationships, but turns passion to prayeragain, irony perhaps?
Lips that would kiss/
form prayers to broken stone…
In this Hollow Valley/
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms…
An image of futility and hopelessness…the
valley of death.
In this last of meeting places
we grope together
and avoid speech
Gathered together on the beach of the tumid
A more powerful stanza, groping together in
silence for physical comfort and unity.
Implying fear. Paralyzing fear- perhaps of
death or the unknown. Tumid river refers to
the Styx, the mythical river that leads to the
other kingdom, or it could refer to the
baptismal river that leads to salvation.
Equally fearsome.
…perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
The hope only
Of Empty Men
A reference to the risen Christ. The
redemption of men, through Jesus’ death,
that is the only hope of empty (hollow) men.
Again Irony.
What is the shadow..?
It falls between the intention and the reality.
The conflict between what is real and what is
believed. Its is the shadow of consequence.
He is judged on his actions, but he fears he
has made the wrong philosophical choice.
“This is how the world ends
Not with a bang, but with a whimper”
Futility and hopelessness. This is the issue that
faced men of Eliot’s generation. The futility of
the war affected the outlook and perspective of
many post WW1. The economic hardships and
reality of death at its most gruesome was
evident. Was their a place for faith in this world?
Not for Eliot, and he asks the big questions
through his poetry.

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