© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men

by T.S. Eliot

Identity Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy(epigraphs)

The epigraphs identify the Hollow Men with the character Kurtz from Heart of Darkness, and the English traitor Guy Fawkes; it suggests that they are dead souls.

Quote #2

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men (lines 1-2)

The first two lines make the Hollow Men sound like one of those scary-looking animals that hunters sometimes hang on their walls. They have the outward appearance of being human, but inside they are just lifeless matter.

Quote #3

Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion; (lines 5-12)

The Hollow Men have an incomplete identity. Their "voices," "shape," and ability to "gesture" resemble qualities of human beings, but they have no meaning here. They are like shadows without the real object that creates the shadow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement