The Hollow Men

In T. S. Elliot’s poem “The Hollow Men,” engaging imagery can be found in every section, but one of the very first  instances of this imagery is my favorite. In this section, Elliot writes “As wind in dry grass or rats feet over broken glass In our dry cellar.” This description is all meant to describe a quiet, unimportant rustling sound, but goes even further by evoking images of an abandoned, empty place (nothing but an open field and empty cellar). This helps contribute to the poem’s meaning by giving another description of how meaningless and empty the conversation, and possibly even life, of many people has become.

When comparing Elliot’s work to the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” you can see that both have similar views on the popular lifestyle of the time (life in the 20’s since both works were written in this era) since each shows that in the end, lives have little meaning if they have been lived in a “hollow” and self-absorbed way. Even with their similar messages, each of these works presents its meaning in a different way. While Gatsby shows the gradual decline and eventual meaningless of a persons life and has a superficial tone, The Hollow Men is more of a direct warning because the entire poem is spent showing the lack of importance and eventual demise (in death) of the people of his era and carries a more foreboding tone.

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