Repitition is a big part of "The Hollow Men".

The Situation Tone Poetic Voice The Hollow Men -Paraphrase We hardly exist.

The Hollow Men summary and analysis 1 | Amandina …

This may be some objection to the name of nominal essence; but is, as I humbly conceive, none to the thing designed by it. There is an internal constitution of things, on which their properties depend. This your lordship and I are agreed of, and this we call the real essence. There are also certain complex ideas, or combinations of these properties in men’s minds, to which they commonly annex specific names, or names of sorts or kinds of things. This, I believe, your lordship does not deny. These complex ideas, for want of a better name, I have called nominal essences; how properly, I will not dispute. But if any one will help me to a better name for them, I am ready to receive it; till then, I must, to express myself, use this. Now, my lord, body, life, and the power of reasoning, being not the real essence of a man, as I believe your lordship will agree, will your lordship say, that they are not enough to make the thing wherein they are found, of the kind called man, and not of the kind called baboon, because the difference of these kinds is real? If this be not real enough to make the thing of one kind and not of another, I do not see how animal rationale can be enough really to distinguish a man from a horse; for that is but the nominal, not real essence of that kind, designed by the name man: and yet I suppose, every one thinks it real enough to make a real difference between that and other kinds. And if nothing will serve the turn, to things of one kind and not of another (which, as I have showed, signifies no more but ranking of them under different specific names) but their real unknown constitutions, which are the real essences we are speaking of, I fear it would be a long while before we should have really different kinds of substances, or distinct names for them, unless we could distinguish them by these differences, of which we have no distinct conceptions. For I think it would not be readily answered me, if I should demand, wherein lies the real difference in the internal constitution of a stag from that of a buck, which are each of them very well known to be of one kind, and not of the other; and nobody questions but that the kinds, whereof each of them is, are really different.

The Hollow Men begins with two epigraphs

How, I beseech your lordship, are we certain that they are men, but only by our senses, finding those properties in them which answer the abstract complex idea, which is in our minds, of the specific idea to which we have annexed the specific name man? This I take to be the true meaning of what your lordship says in the next words, viz. ‘They take their denomination of being men from that common nature or essence which is in them;’ and I am apt to think, these words will not hold true in any other sense.

If, when your lordship asks, ‘What makes them men?’ your lordship used the word making in the proper sense for the efficient cause, and in that sense it were true, that the essence of a man, i. e. the specific essence of that species made a man; it would undoubtedly follow, that this specific essence had a reality beyond that of being only a general abstract idea in the mind. But when it is said, that it is the true and real essence of a man in every one of them that makes Peter, James, and John true and real men, the true and real meaning of these words is no more, but that the essence of that species, i. e. the properties answering the complex abstract idea to which the specific name is given, being found in them, that makes them be properly and truly called men, or is the reason why they are called men. Your lordship adds, ‘and we must be as certain of this, as we are that they are men.’


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Your lordship adds in the next words, ‘And so it hath been always understood by the christian church, viz. That the resurrection of the same body, in your lordship’s sense of the same body, is an article of faith.’ Answer. What the christian church has always understood, is beyond my knowledge. But for those who, coming short of your lordship’s great learning, cannot gather their articles of faith from the understanding of all the whole christian church, ever since the preaching of the gospel, (who make the far greater part of christians, I think I may say nine hundred ninety and nine of a thousand) but are forced to have recourse to the scripture to find them there, I do not see, that they will easily find there this proposed as an article of faith, that there shall be a resurrection of the same body; but that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, without explicitly determining, That they shall be raised with bodies made up wholly of the same particles which were once vitally united to their souls in their former life, without the mixture of any one other particle of matter; which is that which your lordship means by the same body.

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The well-known tree in Epping forest, called the King’s Oak, which from not weighing an ounce at first, grew to have many tons of timber in it, was all along the same oak, the very same plant; but nobody, I think, will say that it was the same body when it weighed a ton, as it was when it weighed but an ounce, unless he has a mind to signalize himself by saying, that that is the same body, which has a thousand particles of different matter in it, for one particle that is the same; which is no better than to say, that a thousand different particles are but one and the same particle, and one and the same particle is a thousand different particles; a thousand times a greater absurdity, than to say half is whole, or the whole is the same with the half; which will be improved ten thousand times yet farther, if a man shall say (as your lordship seems to me to argue here) that that great oak is the very same body with the acorn it sprang from, because there was in that acorn an oak in little, which was afterwards as your lordship expresses it) so much enlarged, as to make that mighty tree. For this embryo, if I may so call it, or oak in little, being not the hundredth, or perhaps the thousandth part of the acorn, and the acorn being not the thousandth part of the grown oak, it will be very extraordinary to prove the acorn and the grown oak to be the same body, by a way wherein it cannot be pretended, that above one particle of an hundred thousand, or a million, is the same in the one body, that it was in the other. From which way of reasoning, it will follow, that a nurse and her sucking child have the same body, and be past doubt, that a mother and her infant have the same body. But this is a way of certainty found out to establish the articles of faith, and to overturn the new method of certainty that your lordship says ‘I have started, which is apt to leave men’s minds more doubtful than before.’