Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Essay

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In this essay, Dillon explores the reasons behind Gray's rewriting of the poem's ending.

The "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" can be read as a journey of recognition, conceived in dusk and worked out—not in a miasma of depression—but in the light of a symbolic self-destruction. The poem contains a drama of identification with the buried farmers of the village ofStoke Poges; however, this identification yields the poet a brief delivery from his rather narrow life. Moreover, the development of the poem has a quasi-heroic quality, for it grows out of a shorter early version that is a more emotionally distanced study of man's final destiny. When Thomas Gray returned to the Eton manuscript of the "Elegy," he filled the new ending with far more intimate feelings.

The poem opens with the speaker's evocation of the world immediately around the graveyard; it then focuses on...

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This section contains 2,355 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
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.