Journeys may offer things which may be accepted or rejected. Two poems of T. S Eliot portrays this idea very well, The Journey of the Magi and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Both display either acceptance or rejection of the opportunities that journeys offer. In the poem Journey of the Magi it shows a lot of acceptance and grasping of the opportunities that journeys have to offer. The main journeys in the Journey of the Magi is a physical journey and a spiritual journey.
The title is explains this well, The Journey of the Magi is a story about the physical journey of the Magi going to see baby Jesus, but of course there’s more to it than meets the eye. There always is with Eliot. Eliot could have called it ”The Magus” or “The Three Wise Men” or “Baby Jesus and the Magi but he didn’t, and that means that the actual phrasing of the title is significant. It is significant because the story details the literal journey of the Magi but the poem also a spiritual and figurative journey. On this journey that the Magi went on they realized many opportunities, even going on this physical journey was a great opportunity.
One of the big things that the Magi accepted was change in their lives and how the journey affected them spiritually and mentally. While he was on the journey to go see Jesus, they realized that Jesus was someone very important and they accepted that fact. When they got back home to their pagan ways they did not seem to fit in. “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, with an alien people clutching there gods”. In the modernistic poem The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock there are many instances of how opportunities from journeys can be rejected. In this depressing poem by T.
S Eliot there are journeys. There are physical journeys and inner journeys. In the poem J. Alfred Prufrock depicts how he is becoming and old man, how he is aging “Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald)”. This aging is a physical journey. There is also a personal journey happening, J. Alfred Prufrock is a middle aged and sexually frustrated man. He has seen many opportunities go by and has never grasped them, “I have seen the moments of my greatness flicker” Prufrock is worried because he is running out of time, he is getting old and he is still struggling to talk to women, make conversation and being social.
He has stared into the face of death, “And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat” Prufrock can never totally grasp the opportunities that pass him, he is a shy man. He draws attention to insignificant events that compromise his life, “And time yet for a hundred indecisions, … Before the taking of a toast and tea. ” He has important things to decide on but he doesn’t decide and doesn’t make these important decisions, he rejects these opportunities. Prufrock has the inability to have a relationship, he has a futile existence and unfulfilled plans, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”.
Prufrock is always going back and asking himself if he should have risked it and taken up those opportunities, if it would have been worth it to talk to women, rising up and being brave, to leave his dull life and talk to them but he has never found the courage, never been able to grasp and conquer these opportunities that have passed him so many times. In these two amazing poems Journey of the Magi and The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock are Journeys and what they might offer and how these offers may be accepted or rejected.