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Symbol Analysis

The Hollow Men never speak of Heaven by name. In fact, they seem afraid to do so. They are curious about what "death's dream kingdom" is like, but they also fear the "eyes" of heavenly souls and the final judgmental that God will deliver. Fading or dying stars symbolize the receding chance for hope and salvation from Heaven.

  • Line 20: "Death's dream kingdom" probably refers to Heaven, which the Hollow Men can only "dream" about and never experience. Or maybe they think Heaven is like a pleasant dream.
  • Lines 24-28: When the Hollow Men try to imagine what Heaven is like, they think of a "tree swinging" in the wind. The wind is personified as "singing." The distance of the Hollow Men from the hope and salvation of Heaven is symbolized by "a fading star."
  • Lines 44: The image of "a fading star" returns. The star shines over the Hollow Men as they pray to "stone images." It's as if Heaven were watching over the fruitless actions of the men.
  • Lines 63-65: The rose with many petals is a metaphor for the eternal star of Heaven. Or maybe the star is a metaphor for the rose. With Eliot's symbols, things can become complicated in a hurry. But that's why we like them. "Twilight" could represent the end of time or history.

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