Heart of Darkness and Hollow Men

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Heart of Darkness and Hollow Men

By | Feb. 2013
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Heart of Darkness and "The Hollow Men”

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness reveals the theme of self-reflection, however that reflection leads to a caliginous finish filled with vacantness. A poem written in 1925, “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot, portrays a nearly equivalent feeling of emptiness. Both of which form a vacuous, hollow existence of man. Conrad and Eliot’s work mirrors each other’s directly with their internal reflection and overall emptiness. In fact, Eliot even begins his poem with “Mistah Kurtz- He dead.” a citation from Heart of Darkness. Poems often intend to express more than what they literally say within their lines. In T.S. Eliot’s “Hollow Men,” Eliot depicts the insignificant lives of these “hollow men,” “stuffed” with worthlessness. He then goes on to explain how the men go about their daily lives and “whisper together” meaningless things. Eliot also speaks of the eyes that are “more distant and more solemn than a fading star.” The hollow men’s eyes are in a sort of hellish state, with stares of nothingness as they gaze out among the world. God’s eyes seem out of reach to these hopeless men, God’s eyes “do not appear,” they are too distant for them to reach. “This dead land this cactus land here the stone images are raised,” men in this barren and empty land are seen worshipping false gods, worthless stone. The only way for the hollow men to find hope is for God to be brought pack in and praised in “death’s twilight kingdom,” which in itself seems hopeless. Almost spontaneously Eliot brings in a nursery rhyme, creating a whimsical and simplistic way about the hollow men. Shortly after he starts the Lord’s Prayer, “For thine is the Kingdom,” and repeats it several times seeming to loose his train of thought, adding to the meaningless stuffing of these hollow men. “This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper,” ends Eliot’s poem and also the lives of the hollow men, without meaning or significance. Like the theme of...