In his poem, Eliot reveals the first clue to the mood of the poem in his first line. The winter evening settles down
The word winter might symbolize roughness, coldness and lifelessness. Here, Eliot is not in one of his happy moods, having referred to winter in the very first line. The word following winter is the image of evening, which symbolizes night, the approach of darkness. In the first line, Eliot establishes some type of dreary tone, as if suggesting that this "winter evening" is here to stay from now on. The poet writes other symbols that give a meaning of the boredom and dreariness of life. For instance: The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
The image of burnt-out days might suggest that people are "burnt" out from all their strength just like a cigarette butt. The other image, smoky days, suggests difficult times or poor living conditions. The grimy scraps
This image suggests waste, and therefore wasted lives.
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The image vacant says it al; the emptiness in the lives of people, the emptiness of meaning, and the emptiness of purpose. On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
The broken blinds suggest people that are unable to pull themselves together and therefore they have broken lives. A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
This image symbolizes the loneliness of man.
As seen above, Eliot creates a mood of desolation and loneliness through diction and imagery. He uses words such as, "burnt out," "gusty," "grimy," "vacant," "broken," and "lonely," to help set the central theme.
Now, Ernest Hemingway's short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," shares the same theme as the poem...