Desiderata Critical Analysis || By - Max Ehrmann

Caution : Highly Motivational

Max Ehrmann (1872 - 1945), an American writer poet is famous for his great philospophy of modern life living in an age which was best with rapid advancement in science and technology. He saw a big difference from treditional way and thought of life. He was inspired by his personal obseravtion. In his wrighytings he reflected upon the various things which needed to help humanity in achieving excellance and satisfaction in personal life. 

          As a young man,  was as busy as everyone else who were impacted by glamour of modern life. From career to persuit of happiness, he had seen them all growing among them with his own personal failing and success. Amidst all this, he found his very special interest - Writing. Despite being an attorney, he also had to be part of himself to note down all that he went through while he was busy in his manufacturing business.

           In the materialistic society of America, he burned midnight oil to dedicate himself to some thoughts which later becmae some of the most  inspiring lines in the history of modern American literature. 

           There comes a time, finally, at forty when he decided to permenantly bid adieu to worldly curriers. Here onwaeds he sacrificed all his life writing his mond out. It was never a huge success instantly for Max Ehrmann. Rather it took years to get his writings to some serious study and understanding.

           His most noted work, "The Desiderata" was written in 1927. However, it is interesting to note how this poem went unnoticed note until his death when quite accidently this poem came to be part of a speach which later found appreciation among the audiance. Then it hardly a matter of time when poem became a huge hit among the lovers of poetry. It is recorded that the poem has been published in numerous magazines and books. Moreover it has also been translated into several languages of the world. Even warners brother, in 1971 , released a record to make it one of the most upheeling lyrics in human history. 

"The Desiderata", is a term meanig "Things Desire". The critics have called it didactic in form and spiritual in nature. Every line of the poem is unequal eight stanzas in full of depth impling the understanding of life. A prose poem, it offers a simple and positive crado (faith and belief) for life. Not only does it teach us to be aware of our weakness but it also shows those paths which leads to peace and joy, In explaining the mysteries of life, the poet spreads a positive atmosphere around our life. It requests us to be strong and asks us to listen to our conscence. There are enough reminders and careful observations of how we could face the troubles of our life and move towards a world of compassion. 

         The first stanza begins with an instruction being an instructional poem, to be calm amidst noise and haste. The second line immediately then spells out the value of silence and peace in everyday life. The first half of the 20th centuary was a big moment for American History. Not only did America asume the big brother role, after the First World War but also faced the great recession of 1929. In such circumstances of American fast life, the poet saw loose of peace. Hence he requested for , "Going placedly". Then he goes on to value human relationship on a positive note. Whatever happened in life, Ehrmann believed that being good term with all person and surrending ourselves for the cause of the world was slowly missing from the main stream of life. Instead people beacame self centered and spoke lied to benefit themselves. In addition , people hardly had the time to listen to others. They spoke loudly and rudely forgetting all ethiques of normal human life. The concept of truth was somehow sold awsy with the dart element of the world. No, one wanted to speak the truth quietly and clearly. They even forget how even the dull and ignorant hard then stories to be told. Hence the poem instructs us to do the otherwise becoming truthful and simple.

"Go placedly among noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence...
Be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others."

         The beginning of 20th centuary  marked by aggression and violence. People seem to have lost the divine presence of peace. Bitterness seem to have supressed, gentleness and softness in language and syle. Hence the poet requests avoidance of loud and agressive people saying they are disturbance to spirit. Besides, lets also not forget what Ehrmann meant by it when he warned against agression. Vain or Bitterness is necessarily connected with agressive nature. Besides making us prowd it also kills all our relationship. Therefore such people should not be given an opportunity to air their bitterness to put you down, upsetting all your plan and purpose. The poet then tells us to ignore any kind of comparison in the big world of rat race and cut throat competition, it is better that every individual meantains his personal individualities. Depending and believing in the fact that every person has enough apportunities to achieve hights, we must all move forward achieving our plans irrespective of who is before and after us. The moment comparison set in, there is likely to be risk of becomming vain or bitter.

"Avoid loud and agressive person;
they are vexations to spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans."

         In the fast moving world, Ehrmann suggests high degree of professionalism. According to him no task or job is unimportant or useless, however humble. Even Gandhiji, the great father of India agreed with the phylosphy - "Work is worship." Dignity of labour is what defines the character of a person. Everyone possesses unique skill and talance and everybody is destined to decorate oneself with various kinds of duties and responsiblities in everyday life. Hence there is nothing in the world which should be ignored or depreciated. Each profession thus has its own value and therefore Eharmann requests us to feel prowd of what we do as professions.

"Keep intersted in your own cureer, however humble,
it's real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not bind you to what virtue there is:
many persons strive for high ideas,
and everywhere life is full of heroism."

          Even since man got enlightened, he began to also understand morals. Indue course of time, evil was born to challange the goodness of humanity. Trachery beacme a mean to cheat and betray people. In the mordern age this and has become a fashion and passion of many. Hence, the poet wants us all because we are constantly at the risk of being tricked. Lets not falsly asume that we couldn't be buffed. Therefore there is need for caution in our day to day business affair. The irony of life is we are constantly challanged due to our innosence and honesty. As such we must always have faith in our positively. Insted of binding ourselves to the trick of the world, we must inculcated virtues and high ideas wherever they may be. Lets nover forget that everywhere there are opportunities to make a hero of us. Standing up to our ideas, we  must not surrender to  the false philosophies of our world. 

         Moving further, the poet now discusses individually identities and their importance in the big wide world. Such is the beauty of virtue of life in nature that even we as human beings are essentially unique and individually important to others. There is no reason why we must consider ourselves burdened for other. Life manifests itself in different forms. As such, each of us is an integral part. There is enough reason to face what comes our way. Therefore the poet advices us to, "Be yourself". There is no use - pretending to be someone else because it will give us virues and deflected pictures of ourself. We wouldn't be able to understand who we are, then and words till we lost in the confused growing population. Trying to ape someone else in the crowd. The poem again goes on to say that the world is an arid and this enchanted place in which we should become grass lasting temporarily. The poet uses a beautiful metaphor of grass lasting short. 

"Be yourself ... In the face of all
aridity and disen chantment,
it is as perennial as the grass."

         Let now discuss how Eharmann taks about "things of youth" the modern world has come to realise the risk faced by youth. Not only are they unconsious of changing fortunes of the world but also they are hugely affected by changing fashion of the time. They are vernable lot and susceptable to false ideologies. This has brought about many problems for youth of our time. Hence the poet suggests various measures to overcome open challanges of evils facing them. First, They should be obedient to their ears. Secondly, they must gracefully surrender the things of youth and insted nurture the strength of our spirit to shield ourselces in sudden misfortune of life. Thirdly we should not distress ourself with dark imagination. For many fears are born leading to fatigue and loneliness. It is therefore very important to have a wholesome discipline. Becomming gentle wath ourself is the best way to know ourself well.

"Take kindly the counsel of the years
gracefully surrendering the things of youth...
be gentle with yourself."

           Taking the same message of individual importance, the poet furthers the idea of How everyone deserves his life. As a child of the universe, we are all stars and trees. WIthout us the world is certainly not complete and no one must ever have this feeling that we are not needed here. Rather eb=veryone has a right to be here on eartjh. However the poet also warns us against egos and vanity because we must not forget that we are just part of the universe and nothing in universe waits for us. As such everyone is expected to follow the universal truths of life. When in trouble and danger , we must remember to have got amidst us and whatever our labour and aspirations be, never run short of peace in our sole. The world is indeed a moisy confused place and cant afford to loose our peace and happiness. Everymoment we must keep in mind that this is a world where hiss will finds shame , Drudgry and broken dreams. Despite all these harsh realities, only one thing that should lead us forward is our personal life that world is a beautiful place and we must as well strive to be happy and cheerful. This is the only way we could find the meaning in life. This is the only way to find purpose in our life and finally this is the only way we grow in the fulness of life.

"It is still a beautiful world
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."

    Thank You