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T.S. Elliot - The Hollow Men
The imagery depicted in T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men" evokes a sense of desolate hopelessness and lends to Eliot's generally cynical view of civilization during this period in history. A reaction of deep and profound disappointment in mankind around him is made evident in this stark work, first published in 1925. In this short piece, Eliot enumerates several deep faults he finds in his fellowman, including hypocrisy, apathy and indifference, and leaves the reader with a feeling of overwhelming emptiness.
An important feature of this poem is the fact that the narration of the poem is in first person. This establishes Eliot's and the readers relationship to the images and ideas presented. When the poem begins "We are the hollow men" rather than "They are ..." or "You are..." the reader is immediately included somehow in this description, along with Eliot himself. This type of narration creates a sense of common "hollowness" and by the end of the poem, therefore, a sense of common responsibility and guilt. Early in the poem, Eliot creates a world of desolation. The idea of dryness is emphasized by the repetition of the word "dry" in the first stanza, where we read of "dried voices," "dry grass" and "dry cellar." When he mentions the sound of "rats feet over broken glass" he succinctly and subtly prods at our anxieties about urban disease and decay, showing us a sort of fleeting snapshot, almost subliminally planted, and raising in us an insta...