10. HOLLOW MEN (T.S.Eliot)
CONTEXT: In this poem, the poet criticizes modern men. He says that they are paralyzed people. They have souls but not human passions. They have souls but worthless and meaningless. They have wisdom and act just as puppets do. They are worse than animals. In this way, they cannot be called human beings.
EXPLANATION: LINES 1 TO 4: These lines reveal to us the moral degradation which is the lot of modern man of the 20th century. The poet says that modern men have become hollow. They have no wisdom because they have stuffed minds. They lack feelings of sincerity for others. They have futile desires which the poet compares with a straw.
EXPLANATION: LINES 5 TO 10: In these lines, the poet points out the spiritual emptiness of modern men of the 20th century. He says that the voices of modern men have become lifeless. They speak but the words contain no meanings. These words have become as unimportant as the voices created by the wind when it passes through the grass. These voices are as worthless as the roaming of rats in a storehouse in search of food.
EXPLANATION: LINES 11 TO 12: In these lines, the poet says that modern men have shapes but they have no colour. That’s why, it is very difficult to identify them. They have strength but the strength has no character. They move but this movement has no meaning. They cannot convey their feelings to others. Their existence has lost its significance. They are just wandering souls.
EXPLANATION: LINES 13 TO 18: In these lines, the poet says that the people, who have joined the other world which is immortal, will remember the modern men as mere puppets and soulless men who have no fiery ambition, power, courage or spirit. The reason is they know that modern men are hollow and stuffed like hunted animals. Outwardly, they are strong but actually, it is not. The most tragic aspect of this situation is that they are quite contented with our meaningless life.
Q.NO.1: Who has written this poem?
Answer: This poem has been written by the famous poet, essayist and social and literary critic T.S. Eliot. Optimism and idealism were the prominent elements of his poetry.
Q.NO.2: What is the theme of the poem? OR Write a critical note on the poem. OR Why does the poet call the modern men the hollow men? OR Who have been called the hollow men? (FB-09, GW-09, 11,DGK-10, FB, SG-11, 12, MUL-11)
Answer: In this poem, the poet calls the modern men the hollow men because they are apathetic and ignorant. They do have shapes but inside there is nothing. They are stuffed men.