Title Of Paper : The Hippopotamus Is Not A Church Essay

Title Of Paper : The Hippopotamus Is Not A Church

Title of Paper : “The Hippopotamus” is not a Church
Grade Received on Report : 100

“The Hippopotamus” is not a Church

In “The Hippopotamus,” T. S. Eliot uses irony and contrasting metaphors to illustrate the secularity of the
Christian Church and the spirituality of mankind. It is a satirical look at the establishment of Christianity.
The hippopotamus in the poem is a metaphor for mankind and the True Church is a metaphor for
Christianity. There are several sharp ironies that emphasize the dichotomy of the professed ideals of
Christianity and reality. The whole poem is ironical because it does not portray Christianity as the path to
heaven. The awkward hippopotamus is celebrated by the heavenly hosts. The author illustrates these
points by contrasting images of the Church with aspects of the plodding, modest hippopotamus. These
contrasts are juxtaposed in the same stanza to make the author’s point. The techniques of irony and
contrasting metaphors may be found in four representative stanzas.

The first stanza of the poem contrasts the hippopotamus with a Church clique. The first two lines of the
first stanza describe, “The broad-backed hippopotamus.” He is resting on,”His belly in the mud,….” This
description gives the image of a big hippopotamus contently lying in the mud. The last two lines,
“…Although he seems so firm to us He is merely flesh and blood,” contrast with the contented
hippopotamus image. The line “…Merely flesh and blood,” is an often used Christian clich? used to
trivialize man’s existence on earth.. “Merely” minimizes,”…Flesh and blood.” A portrayal of an individual
…….
Word Count:
795
Page Count:
3

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