Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Essay

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David Kelly is an instructor of literature and writing at several community colleges in Illinois, as well as a fiction writer. Here, he examines Gray's 'Elegy" as a reflection of social conscience, finding it to be advanced in identifying the problems of a class-based society but lacking in solutions.

The most common interpretation of Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" is that it is an expression of sympathy and support for those who have the misfortune to be without money or social prestige. When critics do not approach it from this angle, they almost always look at it as a broader philosophical statement about how fortune in this world ends up being no help to the dead, an interpretation that rests almost entirely upon line 36, "The paths of glory lead but to the grave." These are both pertinent ideas that Gray does cover, but they're...

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This section contains 1,710 words
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Buy the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.