When reading The Hollow Men, by T.S. Eliot, one's immediate response might be to consider it against to context of which it was written. Such context may be purely historical or may revolve around the author's social life. All of these accounts may prove significant in assessing the poem correctly or even way off, such details often vary, but what is certain is that it is difficult to find a poem or any work of art that does not give insight into the artist's life experience.
[...] The bang seems to emphasize the crude and physical of the death we expect where as the whimper seems to illustrate that self-realization comes upon acknowledgement of the darkness of the self, the shadowy aspect, a part of us that brings to light the whimpers and sadness of some bleak, emotional dimension. Section V is definitely the most enigmatic part of the poem, but I find it interesting to consider the structure of the section as parallel to its content. [...]
[...] In occult teachings, it is said that the astral plane is inhabited by spirits of evolutionary capacity, which is to say of the same sterility as the hollow men. Carl Jung referred to complexes as a network of ideas linked together by an emotional stimulus. He often referred to such complexes as essentially autonomous (Jung 580). If there is a connection between the unconscious and the spirit world (the latter being often referred to symbolically by way of projections of the deceased), then it is possible that Eliot was referring to his complexes when he says, “voices are in the wind singing more distant and more solemn than a fading star.” Perhaps he is referring to his own capacity to be as dead as the hollow men, the fading star being contrary to the “perpetual star” referred to near the end of section IV. [...]
[...] It seems as if he's aware of the hollow condition unto its very limits (“death's twilight kingdom”) where something redeeming rests, only hope of hollow men.” To the writer, it seems to make no difference whether we interpret this sterility to be solely psychological or social, since in essence there really is no difference when considering that life is inherently symbolic. Carl Jung called this synchronicity, an a-casual relationship where several parallels come together in a seemingly coincidental relationship detailing a particular state of wholeness (Jung 101). [...]
[...] Eliot's Hollow to represent either the literary machinations of some distant genius or the bold account of his own experience of self-realization. Of course, the former is evident in the dry, scholarly account where poetry becomes an “exercise in allusion”, the very “valley of dying stars” he mentions in the poem, the likes of which robs us of our relative experience and presupposes a barrier between writer and reader (Willard). In the same way that we may relate to the poem in two different ways, so too, the poem presupposes two kinds of men, the spiritually dead and the spiritually awake. [...]
[...] If section IV can be considered the end of the poem before the denouement of section than it is possible that the of the poem is speaking with “direct eyes” pouring forth a certain keen awareness. But what is this Shadow. First of all, I think it's important to note that the S is capitalized as is Kingdom. Such capitals are often referred to proper nouns such as names, places, but also things considered sacred such as God in our culture. [...]
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