This is the end…

This is the end, that is the first line in the famous song ”The End” by The Doors. This is a fitting song for our last and final class of English.

We have covered a great distance since we started. We have read lots of texts: dozens of short stories,  and written many essays and stories using a broad variety of techniques.

We have studied rhetoric and speeches by important historical figures, read poetry, and excerpts by some of the best authors who have ever lived.

We have discussed major ethical and political issues of our time. Everything from the environment, adoption, artificial intelligence, computer games, robotics and differences and similarities between British, American, and Swedish political systems.

We have argued. We have analyzed. We have tried to understand scientific, as well as everyday questions. All this we have done and more.

So this is the way this course ends not with ”a bang”, nor with ”a whimper”, this is just the way it ends. 🙂

The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

Mistah Kurtz – he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
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;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer –

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of this tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Questions to discuss

1. Who are the hollow men? What could Eliot have meant by that expression?

2. How do you read this poem? What does it tell you?

 

En tanke på “This is the end…”

  1. It seems like the poem is always narrated by one of these”hollow men”. And hollow men are people who have nothing in life. Thus the term ”hollow”. It says these straw men are both hollow and stuffed. Now these are quite the opposite of one another. Unless hollow means just that they are lacking of something essential so to speak.

    2. I read the epigraphs first ofcourse, and it would seem that the second epigraph either is refering to the day that Guy Fawkes died where they celebrate it with fireworks and burning of little straw men or effigies. To celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, English children ask for money to fund the explosions of their straw effigies of Fawkes, so they say, ”A penny for the guy?” ”Guy” being his first name.

    Then the rest felt kind of blurry with no real rhyme or reason so to speak.

    It does seem like it is some kind of reference to Dante Aleghieri. In Dante’s Inferno, where in the third cycle they arrive and they see people wandering aimlessly and miserably. As Dante’s guide Virgil says, ”They have no hope of death, and their blind life is so abject that they are envious of every other lot. The world does not permit report of them. Mercy and justice hold them in contempt. Let us not speak of them – look and pass by.” Now this would sound like our hollow men.

    Gilla

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