"The Hollow Men" is written in five parts. Since only a choric ode would likely use plurals, it is easy to identify all the sections but section 2 as choric odes, since they all use the plural pronoun "we," and they all seem to express a group experience. For example, in section 1, the speakers identify themselves as a group: "We are the hollow men."
Section 2, however, is a soliloquy, as it is a single person, an "I," expressing his thoughts without any indication that he is specifically addressing another person. For example, as he looks around at his surroundings, he thinks, "Eyes I dare not meet in dreams." We are overhearing what is passing through his mind.
Lyrical poetry expresses emotion, while an elegy is a lament for something or someone that is gone. A meditation is a series of thoughts or reflections about events or elements of life. "The Hollow Men," written in 1923, weaves together emotion, lament, and meditation to express an elegiac sense of stunned loss over the world that was torn apart by World War I. Exclamation points always communicate emotion, so the passage below begins with a strong expression of regret, followed by a muted sense of voicelessness. The passage expresses the emotions of lament and loss:
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
Imagery also expresses emotion, and such images as those of "rats' feet over broken glass" and "broken jaw" convey a sense of the desolation the speakers feel. In section 5, between snatches of verse, the chorus meditates on the meaning of what has occurred to leave them hollow men:
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
The chorus understands itself, representatives of the lost generation after World War I, shell-shocked by all that has happened and a loss of meaning, as living in a shadow time. The chorus ends by reflecting:
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
These are thoughts—meditations—on how the world seems.