How the Thematic and Stylistic features are presented in the Poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

The poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” was written by Thomas Gray in 1750.

The following stylistic features were identified in the poem:
1. Personification
2. Metaphor
3. Omission of the letter V in the poem

The stylistic features more or less reveal the style how this poem is written. The characteristics above will be identified in the poem further. Personification in this poem could be identified in the 29th and 31st lines, also in 43rd and 44th line, and from the epitaph line 7 and 8th. The following nouns in the poem are written with the capital letters: Ambition, Grandeur, Honor’s, Flattery and Death. These nouns take human characteristics, as they can act and speak.In the third example Misery is presented as a person that the authors gives all he had, and Heaven presents a person he gained something from. Throughout the poem there are also other personification, all those nouns which have a human character are written with capital letters.

The second characteristic identified is metaphor. It could be identified in the epitaph in the lines one and two. It alludes to a comparison between two things; in this case there is not a word that will indicate the comparison. We somehow need to figure that out. “Here rests his head upon lap of Earth A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown” (line 1, 2). It compares the people whether rich or poor they are lying in the graveyard dead.

The third characteristic is the omission of the letter V in certain words and places in the poem. This could be identified in the following lines: line: 2 (o’er); line 34 (e’er); line 38 (o’er); line 50 (ne’er); line 63 (o’er) and line 85 (e’er). There is one more word in line 85 (resign’d) where the letter E is missing.  A certain letter in the poem is being omitted. In this poem this is a stylistic feature which somehow identifies the author’s writing style.

The following thematic features were identified in the poem:
1. Tradition of the society
2. Story of the dead
3. Sense of equality

This thematic feature in a way might be connected to the period when this poem was written and with the type of poem that this is. This is an elegy and it should contain characteristics of it, otherwise it will not be so. Throughout the poem somehow it is implied that it is about the agricultural country side and that everyone either rich or poor is buried in the church graveyard. This could be identified from the very firs line of the poem where the plowman and curfew tools are mentioned which refers to an agricultural society. From line 33 till line 38, it could be identified that no matter if one is rich or poor, one is going to die.

The second feature is the story of the dead. This is not what the author says in the title, but what is implied and how the poem develops is a poem of the dead. This could be identified form line 13 to line 24. It clearly describes what the dead can not enjoy anymore. Form the 36th line it could be concluded as described above that everyone is going to die. So, somehow this pictures the story of the dead but not of those famous people. It pictures the ordinary country people, as it is stated in the title (country graveyard).

The third feature is the sense of equality. In other words, everyone is equal, and the ordinary man in the country side is the same as everyone else. This could be identified in the lines form 73 to line 76. It is explained in a way that these people are far from the noisy town, but that does not make them less human. From line 65 to line 69, it is shown a way of how a crime would be dealt with. It somehow balances the right and wrong and finds a touching point where this two converge.


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