Trace the progression and shift of thought in "Enterprise."

In Nissim Ezekiel's poem "Enterprise," the speaker depicts progression when he describes a journey which begins hopefully but gradually becomes more chaotic and pointless until the travelers arrive at their disappointing destination.

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Nissim Ezekiel's poem "Enterprise" charts the progress of a journey which begins as a hopeful pilgrimage and ends in division and disappointment. This speaker's train of thought begins with "Exalting minds" and light burdens as the united group set out on their journey together. "The second stage" brings challenges, but the travelers cope with them "very well." The speaker takes an interest in his surroundings, making notes on the habits "of serpents and of goats" and observing local trade and tourist attractions.

The shift occurs in the third stanza, "when the differences arose." They lose one of the most talented of their group, and a shadow falls over the enterprise. From this point on, the group disintegrates. It is attacked from outside and driven by factions from within. What remains of the group presses on without being quite sure why and is described as a "straggling crowd of little hope." In the last stanza, the pilgrims finally reach their destination:

When, finally, we reached the place,
We hardly knew why we were there.
The trip had darkened every face,
Our deeds were neither great nor rare.
Home is where we have to gather grace.

The group has passed through a series of dangers and privations. They have lost many members, including the best of them. Now that they have arrived, there is a sense of aimlessness after the suffering. Their faces are darkened in disappointment and anger, but also physically, since the narrator notes both the intensity of the sun and the fact that they ran out of soap on the journey. The narrator's train of thought ends with the assertion that they have accomplished nothing and would have been wiser to stay at home.

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