Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Poetry Analysis: Nissim Ezekiel’s “Enterprise”


Ezekiel describes the account of a journey in the poem ‘Enterprise”. A section of people endeavour on a journey to acheive a specific goal. Their sheer initiative, and the thought of their objective leave them keyed up .They proceed on their expedition and the sun shines its scorching rays on them. Nevertheless, they render themselves immune to the stinging rays and put up an enduring front. The leader of the group believes that they have withstood the heat well. They take notes of whatever they see in the course of the journey. They observe the things they find around, and the commodities that the peasants sell and buy and witness the behavior of serpents and goats. Besides, they behold the sight of three cities where a sage has delivered his learned discourses.

The travelers fall into an argument over how to cross a desert. Owing to the differences, a person who wrote stylish prose and is supposed to be the best of the group forsakes the rest and goes his own way. The others are left with a sense of deprivation.

The travelers go through another ordeal as the travelers are attacked twice and they lose their way. At this juncture, many of the travelers leave the group and go on their own way. The poet asserts that on occasions like these he strived to seek solace in God, while the leader mentioned that they were near to the sea. Nevertheless, the travelers find themselves unmoved by anything they witness. They perceive nothing stimulating them anymore, and ignore the significance of the thunder. The thunder reminds us of Eliot’s “Wasteland”, where it signifies fertility and productivity. Further, they divorce themselves from even basic amenities such as soap. Some of the group are totally overcome with fatigue and they become too stressed to bear with the pressure of the journey any more.

Eventually, the travelers do reach their destination point. Nevertheless, when they do finally reach their target, they comprehend that their achievements have neither been far-fetched nor singular: ‘Home’ is the ultimate place that they have to discover grace.

The journey at once becomes a metaphor for life. In the rat race of competition, principles and ethics are quite often side-stepped. We live life to achieve some prescribed goal. However, as we carry on, we tend to become so obsessed with the target, that the means does not matter at all: the End is only the ends. Besides ,the poet echoes that in the race to be successful, people have l

ost the inner meaning of life, and live life only on the topographical or superficial level. The theme that is echoed in Farhan Akthar’s “Rock On”. People have forsaken the simple joys of life; they tend to ignore life’s basic experiences/teachings. The spiritual enigma of life is not a matter of concern for them. ‘Home’ or self-discovery resides within each individual. It is primarily subjective, and not objective.

Futhermore, for the better lot, the objective is intention. The journey itself is Destination for them.

©Rukhaya MK 2008

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1 Comment

  1. nitu shokeen

    May 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I am really thankful for your essay.i really liked that rock on reference. Your essay was easy to understand , to the point and still catching.thank you soo much.

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