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The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men


by T.S. Eliot

The Hollow Men Passivity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (line)

Quote #1

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion; (lines 11-12)

The Hollow Men live in a world that lacks essential qualities of reality. This helps to explain their total passivity and inability to accomplish anything.

Quote #2

Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men. (lines 15-18)

The Hollow Men want heavenly souls to "remember" that as pathetic and passive as they are, at least they were not "violent souls" who committed atrocious and evil deeds. But the poem judges them for being so weak that, even if they wanted to, they couldn't pull off a bold and wicked action. It's interesting that being passive is seen here as worse than being evil.

Quote #3

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear: (lines 19-21)

The passivity of the Hollow Men often manifests itself as cowardice. This gives us another excuse to make a connection with The Wizard of Oz: they not only resemble the scarecrow without a brain, but also the "cowardly" lion without a brave heart.

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