Analysis Of Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard

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Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is a poem by Thomas Gray which was first published in 1751. The origins of the poem are unknown, but it was somewhat inspired by Gray’s thoughts of the death of the poet Richard West in 1742. The poem presents the argument that the remembrance of death can be good and bad. The narrator finds comfort in thinking about the lives once lived by the people buried in the churchyard. The poem is not just about death, it is about how people are remembered after they have died. In the first stanza of the poem we see the first metaphor in the poem. Line one, “The curfew tolls the knell of parting day”, is a metaphor for death because a “knell” is a bell that rings when someone dies. The author could be saying that the day is dying, or ending, because the “curfew” is a bell that rings at the end of the day. In line two, the author replaces the word “over” with “o’er” in order to make the number of syllables fit the iambic pentameter. In the second stanza, the author uses alliteration to show how quiet and peaceful the churchyard is by saying “And all the air a solemn stillness holds” (line 6). The author also uses personification to talk about the the bells, by saying they are “drowsy” (line 8). The use of personification is continued into the third stanza. The speaker does not say that the owl is hooting, instead he states

that the owl is “moping” and “”complaining” (line 10), which is something that a human would do, and not an owl. In stanza 4, the speaker is looking over the graves and saying that this is where the ancestors of the town are buried. He describes them as “rude”, but when this poem was written, rude didn’t mean impolite, it meant someone from the country or someone who was unsophisticated. The people in the graves were most likely farmers or country men. In stanza 5, the speaker clearly states that the ancestors that are in the graves are dead and are never going to wake up. He lists things that would normally wake a person up, such as the smell of the breeze first thing in the morning, the sound of birds tweeting, and the sound of a roosters cock-a-doodle-do or the sound of a horn being blown. The next stanza focuses on the pleasures that the dead ancestors

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