* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Journey of the Magi

Journey of the Magi

by T.S. Eliot

Religion Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

This: were we led all the way for
Birth or Death? (35-36)

While widespread religious change may bring about good things (for all this skepticism, according to the Bible, Jesus did some pretty awesome stuff), the process can be painful, messy, and even slightly reminiscent of death itself. You have to give up a lot in order to gain a lot, in other words.

Quote #5

With an alien people clutching their gods. (42)

The second-to-last line of this poem is a powerful image of the Magis' people, suddenly transformed into heathens "clutching" (what a word!) at their soon-to-be-false idols. Thus the last real image we get of anything in this poem is a bunch of people desperately hanging on to a way of life that's about to be, well, kaput. As if that weren't enough, the guy who's going to do the transforming is the infant to which the leader of these very people just went to pay tribute! So this is yet another image that illustrates that while Christianity has proven to be a very good thing to a great many people, the process by which it came to be was not all rainbows and sunshine for the folks on the ground.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search