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T. S. Eliot

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james woo

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of T. S. Eliot

September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965

Youngest of 7 children
Attended Harvard University and Oxford University
Married Vivien Haigh-Wood on June 26, 1915

Literary Period: Modernism
Summary and Analysis: Journey of the Magi
Significant Works

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915)
Ash Wednesday (1930)
The Waste Land (1922)
Words for Music (1934)
Four Quartets (1934)
Triumphal March (1931)
Ara Vos Prec (1920)
Sweeney Agonistes (1932)
by James Woo, Kelly Dooley, Daniella Cioffi
T. S. Eliot
Married Valerie Fletcher in 1948
Worked at Faber and Gywer from 1925 until he died
Won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948
Won Merit award for literature
Has a prize named after him
First Stanza:
Summary and Analysis:
Journey of the Magi
Second Stanza:
Summary and Analysis:
Journey of the Magi
Third Stanza:
Literary Critism
Modernist Period lasted from early twentieth century to the 1960s
Predominantly used by the English
Revolved around inner self and consicousness
Opposite of Romanticism
Somewhat of a cynical view (Ex. New technology= increased capitalism and cold machinery)
Very emotional and often in first person pov
Gives the impression that the story is going nowhere
The Magi are the 3 wise men that brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus Christ on the date of his birth.
The poem is told from one Magi's perspective as he takes a very difficult journey to see the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ.
They are traveling from very far away and it is in the middle of a very cold and bitter winter.
The camels are tired and uncomfortable and all of the travelers are very worn out.
Before they embarked on this difficult journey, they lived in luxery in their beautiful palaces so this new way of life was not easy for them. The camel men became selfish because they wanted their old lives back. They were complaining about all of the problems that were occuring and they had a very hard time adjusting
They men decided to travel all night and only stop if it was needed in order to make the trip seem as short as possible.
"The voices" are trying to tell the Magi that the journey was a mistake but he continues to push on even though the men are skeptical about whether or not there savior is really being born.
In the morning, the Magi seem to have ended up in a new, spring like setting. The winter seemed to have ended and a new season has begun.
Various religious references are depicted through symbols used in this stanza. The changing of seasons represents salvation and the stream and the water mill represent Jesus being "the water of life." The three trees represent the three crosses on Mount Calvary, one of which Jesus was crucified. The six hands foreshadow the Gospel of Matthew when Judas is paid 30 peices of silver for betraying Jesus.
These symbolic references foreshadow the life, death and resurection of Jesus Christ.
No information is found at the tavern so the Magi continue walking for the rest of the day until they finally reach the manger just in time.
The last line in the stanza has led to various opinions on what it might mean. A popular opinion is that the term "satisfactory" is referring to the dissapointment of the Magi upon there arrival. Some believe that the birth "satisfied" the conditions of the prophecy. Others believe that the Magi meant that "you" might say that the journey along with the arrival was satisfactory, but I will say nothing.
The first line reveals that the story is being told many years after he took this journey. Despite all the challenges the Magi faced throughout the journey, it was worth it because he would do it again.
"Set this down" means write this down and because the Magi said it twice, he is emphasizing the question, "were we led all that way for Birth or Death?"
he goes on to say that he had seen the literal birth of Jesus Christ and he has seen people being born and people dying before. Before the journey, the Magi veiwed birth and death as opposites but after the journey, he sees them as closely related to eachother.
The difficult journey was like a death for the Magi and going back to their kingdoms after the birth felt miserable and uncomfortable. The Magi felt alienated from his people because the journey has changed the way that he looks at life.
the last line of the poem means that the Magi hopes for the death of his old way of life and the birth of a new way of life. He longs for a spiritual rebirth because his journey caused him to have a new outlook on life.
Journey of the Magi can be veiwed as Eliot's shift in voice and perspective after his babptism into the Anglo-Catholicism church. It begins with the retelling of a story from the Old Testament. But, "the familiar tale has become less, rather than more, accessible." (Eliot's Reader) The persona of the poem is also very typical of early poetry, "Sounding at times like an effete Oriental voluptuary [lines 8–10] and at others like a typical disgruntled tourist [lines 13–15]" (Eliot's Reader)
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