Hollow Heads

Hollow heads torture me with ignorance,

Blind eyes harass me with darkness,

Deaf ears tire me with silence,

Dumb voices deafen me with gibberish,

Blank minds confuse me with emptiness,

And above all,

There is power and command.


With wits and ears and eyes,

I have speech and a strong mind,

But I remain weak and powerless,

They oppress me, they torture me,

They fight me, they kill me.

It’s a fight to bring me down to silence,

To darkness and gibberish, to ignorance,

And through brainwashing, to emptiness.


All right, my friends,

It’s a battle and I’ll fight it,

Ears and wits and eyes and speech,

And a strong conscience:

These are my weapons.


And I will fight to the last cell.


Qn 1. What is the poem all about?

Answ: the poem is about a person who complains about oppression and injustice done to him by the upper class. The persona is tired of being tortured and therefore, he decides to wage war against the enemies (the oppressors).

Qn 2. Who is the person speaking in the poem?

Answ: The person speaking in the poem is an oppressed and exploited man (common man). He is both aware and courageous enough to fight against the oppression, exploitation and injustice done to him, it shows that he is a member of a lower class.

Qn 3. Does the persona fear the enemy?

Answ: No, the persona does not fear the enemy that is the reason why he is ready to fight against them to the last cell. The persona is very brave as he is ready to die fighting.

Qn 4. Who is the addressee of the poem?

Answ: The addressee of the poem is any oppressor, exploiter and humiliator. It can be the ruling class which oppress, exploit and humiliate its subjects.

Qn 5. What is the setting of this poem?

Answ: The setting of the poem can be any country in the world particularly African countries where evils such as humiliation and oppression are practiced to a greater extent.

Qn 6. What is the tone of the poem?

Answ: The tone of the poem is serious and unhappy. The persona is not happy with oppression, humiliation and exploitation done to him that is why he takes action of fighting against them to the last cell.     

Qn 7. What is the mood of the poem?

Answ: The mood of the poem is very sad; it makes us feel sympathy for the persona because of the problems he is experiencing.

Qn 8. Is the poem relevant to your society?

Answ: yes, the poem is very relevant to my society due to the fact that the evils like oppression, exploitation and humiliation are found in my society especially the upper class exploiting the lower class people.

Qn 9. Comment on the use of figures of speech and musical devices.

Answ: Figures of speech.

  • Hollow heads torture me with ignorance”
  • – “All right my friends”

The persona calls his enemies as “friends”

Musical devices.

  • Rhymes:- The word ignorance rhymes with silence.

The word darkness rhymes with emptiness.

  • Alliteration:- “Dumb voices deafen me with gibberish”

“I have speech and strong mind,”

The initial consonants d and s have been repeated in a poetic line.

  • Parallelism;- “They oppress me, they torture me,

                                   They fight me, they kill me”


Qn 10. What are the possible themes of this poem?

Answ: The possible themes of this poem include sacrifice, oppression, injustice, lack of democracy, protest, awareness (consciousness) and classes.

{i} Oppression. In this poem, the persona is shown tortured and oppressed by those in power (Power and command), he is neither free to make decision nor is he having freedom to speech. Consider the following verses (lines) from the poem:

“They oppress me, they torture me,

                        They fight me, they kill me”

{ii} Lack of democracy. There is no true democracy in this society shown in the poem. People like persona who tend to question evils found in the society, are tortured, oppressed and killed by the people in authority so that they could not bring the revolutionary ideas to the others. Lack of democracy can be realized in the poem when the persona says:

“They oppress me, they torture me,

                         They fight me, they kill me”

{iii} Awareness.  In this poem, the persona is aware that there are evils like oppression, torture and killings done by the people in power against him in particular and the other lower class people at large. Due to his awareness, he is ready to die fighting against the oppressors.

{iv} Sacrifice. The persona is ready to sacrifice his life for the good of the society. He is very strong and courageous that is why he wages war against his enemies, he never fears them at all. The following quotation from the poem proves how the Persona sacrifices himself.      “And I will fight to the last cell.”

{v} Classes. There are two major classes shown in this poem, the class of oppressors and the class of the oppressed. The oppressors use their political influence (power) to oppress, torture, fight and kill the oppressed people like the persona. The persona is not happy with this situation, therefore he decides to protest against it.







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