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Word Count: 390
n TS Eliots poem The Hollow Men TS Eliot contrasts his straw-filled hollow men with the lost violent souls of Mr Kurtz and Guy Fawkes Mr Kurtz is a character in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness TS Eliot is saying that it is better to have met death and to have strong opinions than to sit idly and remain stagnant Both Eliot and Conrad are portraying the general society to be decaying The hollow mean are in a state of stagnation They can neither choose life nor death and are therefore damned to a life where they will waste away to nothing The hollow men are said to live in a gray bleak wasteland full of cactus This idea contrasts with Conrads use of symbolism in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad portrays images of stark white and black Joseph Conrad is saying that there were only extremes being the civilized and the uncivilized Mr Kurtz was trying to be a go-between for the civilized and the uncivilized societies of England and Africa Mr Kurtz became depressed and essentially devolved In this sense Conrad is saying that there is no middle road In The Hollow Men the straw men are unable to choose which direction they will take and wait for a sign The settings for the two works is different as well In Heart of Darkness the setting is the Congo The surroundings are lush overgrowth of trees and other plants There is water everywhere especially depicted by the river In The Hollow Men the setting is a bleak desert full of only scarecrows and cactus There are references to eyes in both works The direct eyes are said to be guide Mr Kurtz had burning eyes which symbolized how the horror of his actions eventually killed him In The Hollow Men the eyes are eyes of decision and direction that the straw men lack and do not wish to see
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