Comparison of The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Comparison of The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The current paper aims to analyze “The Hollow Men” poem written by T. S. Eliot and connect the ideas discussed in the poem with “The Great Gatsby” novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is important to note that it is not easy to interpret “The Hollow Men” poem due to the specific style of T. Eliot. In the narrative, he unites several speaking techniques, which have a specific impact on the understanding of the basic ideas. Thus, even the epigraphs play a huge role in the analysis of the plot. Evidently, Mistah Kurtz was a character in Joseph Conrad’s novella. He was a great ivory trader. At the same time, his greatness and ability to demonstrate perfect trading skills were based on the inner hollowness. It becomes clear that the individuality of Mistah Kurtz helps to reveal the phenomenon of the “hollow men”, which is central for the poem.

The second epigraph is related to both to Guy Fawkes Day and the ancient myth about Charon. Thus, the phrase “A Penny for the Old Guy” was used by the kids in order to ask parents for money during Guy Fawkes Day (Eliot 2). Nevertheless, it is also possible to interpret this request as the please to give money for the hollow men, who need to cross the River Styx. It is important to pay the ferryman Charon for the use of the boat.

The epigraphs are very important for the analysis of the poem’s text. Thus, the poem tells a story of the hollow men, who are not able to enter the land of the dead. They are doomed to live in the neutral land, which has no specific characteristics. This land reminds desert with the growing cactuses and lifeless stones. The hollow men are unable to do something due to the paralyzing force, which prevents them from any actions. They only try to pray. Unfortunately, these prayers are partly incorrect and senseless. Therefore, they do not have the possibility to make some step and to change their situation. Furthermore, they are frightened and timid. There is no doubt that T. Eliot tried to describe the lost souls, which have no direction of movement. These hollow people do no know how to live and make different plans with the help of the illusionary dreams. Finally, the hollow men are not able to face the judgment of the society. That is why they hide their eyes and try to avoid the views of others.

The metaphor of the hollow people created by T. Eliot becomes obvious with the help of the “Great Gatsby” analysis. Thus, the image of Jay Gatsby is partly the description of the hollow person. His only aim is to demonstrate wealth and status in order to achieve the illusionary dream. Evidently, Jay Gatsby wants to recreate his earlier relations with Daisy (Fitzgerald 15-16). Unfortunately, she represents the American upper class. The representatives of the upper class mostly think about fun. They ignore the necessity to take care of the spiritual development and the needs of the lower classes. Consequently, they represent this dead empty land.

Jay Gatsby does not understand that the American upper class is extremely dangerous for him. He wants to achieve his dream and finally finds himself lost in the emptiness. He forces himself to lose his individuality and become an empty person. Needless to say, that his intention to be with Daisy is undermined by the truth about his real life story. The final result of the story is inevitable. Jay Gatsby dies because he has no reasons to live. He created a false idol, which led him to the spiritual degradation.

It is possible to conclude that Jay Gatsby is a great example of a hollow man from the poem by T. Eliot. It is extremely important for people to be strong and fearless in order to find a unique way of personal development and avoid inner emptiness. Otherwise, it would be impossible for a person to save his or her soul.

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Works Cited

Eliot, T.S. “The Hollow Men”. All Poetry. 2014. Web. 10 February, 2017.<>

Fitzgerald, F. Scott.The Great Gatsby. Scribner Publishing.2004.