Why is "The Hollow Men" called a work of fragmentation?

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"The Hollow Men " is a fragmented work, even by Eliot's standards. It is divided into five sections, and the connections between them are primarily thematic (the major themes being death, desolation, and dryness). Looking at the first and second sections, for instance, there is no indication of any...

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"The Hollow Men" is a fragmented work, even by Eliot's standards. It is divided into five sections, and the connections between them are primarily thematic (the major themes being death, desolation, and dryness). Looking at the first and second sections, for instance, there is no indication of any connection between the first speaker, who speaks on behalf of a group, and the second, who speaks for himself or herself alone. There is some similar imagery (pastoral but dried up, unlike the plenitude and warmth of traditional pastoral verse, such as Keats's odes) and they both refer to kingdoms of death. Other than this, they might be different poems.

In the third section, we have a speaker who is again part of the group. The themes, death, desolation, and dryness remain the same, and the speaker refers again to "death's other kingdom." In the fourth, the repeated mention of eyes and the references to a "twilight kingdom" seem to link the section more with the second than the third, though the speaker is, once again, as in the first and third sections, a member of a group.

The prickly pear of the fifth section picks up the "cactus land" of the third. The repetitions create a different atmosphere, ritualistic and religious. Once again, though, the themes are the same and the world that ends with a whimper recalls the dry, whispering voices of the hollow men in the fist section. The fact that one can make all these connections but they are never quite enough to make sense of the world Eliot describes, or to dispel the sense of mystery and unease, adds to the atmosphere of disjunction and fragmentation.

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