A Note on the Kingdom of This World

by Yvy Truong

Well, I haven’t made an actual blog post in a very long time, but here it is. A Note on the Kingdom of This World.

I should have written this post in the beginning of last week but I have been thinking about it for a while now, and I think my opinion on it has changed a little. In the beginning, all I could think about was how the narrator of the story took a more omniscient point of view and I thought that the reason behind this was because Carpentier wanted the audience to judge for themselves whom to sympathize with (of if we should sympathize with any of the characters). Though I still somewhat hold that opinion,  I think it has shifted a little bit. And it’s due to this one thing I’ve found in the novel: that it can essentially be read backwards and the reader will still get the same story. A story on slavery, revolution, the notion of freedom… And judge whether or not it exists. The events that take place repeat itself and repeats for the same reason, provoked the same way but within different iterations. So, I have to ask… Who are the guilty ones? Because it seems as though no one is right and no one is wrong.

The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellarShape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

– T.S. Eliot