Thursday, September 19, 2019

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Essay -- Literary Analysis, Gray

The Declaration of Independence contains a snippet about the equality of men; a topic interesting to 18th century authors. The speakers in Gray’s â€Å"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard† and in Goldsmith’s â€Å"The Deserted Village† utilize the themes of death and isolation in order to represent the different social classes. Goldsmith’s speaker idealizes and mourns the decay of rural life, while Gray’s speaker equalizes the different classes. . This essay examines the difference between these two depictions and shows how Gray’s use of stylistic features creates a more convincing argument. Goldsmith’s speaker begins nostalgically for the â€Å"loveliest village of the plain,† (1) by listing the town’s virtues which include â€Å"The never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church [.]† (11-12) Goldsmith uses this imagery to contrast the current state of the village, he goes on to say that â€Å"These were thy charms—But all these charms are fled.† (34) Here, the speaker urges readers to admonish the loss of the village’s charms by destroying the imagery created by the first 33 lines. He continues the description of the land as â€Å"forlorn† (76), but while the villagers were forced to abandon the area, the speaker’s nostalgia implies that he chose to leave. This nostalgia implies that the speaker’s depiction of the village could be highly romanticized. The speaker likens the loss of the village with a much greater problem, â€Å"The country blooms—a garden, and a grave.† (302) He suggests that this is not an isolated problem, but an epidemic that is happening all over the country. The village is lost to make room for a garden and a grave; the first belongs to the nobility and the later to the peasant. His portrayal of the New World supports th... ...dsmith seems to associate with the nobility. He goes on to speak of wealth saying â€Å"This wealth is but a name That leaves our useful products still the same.† (273-274) The use of enjambment forces the reader to quickly read over wealth, the effect makes wealth seem less important which mimics the actual words themselves, thus Goldsmith suggests that wealth is of very little importance in life. Both speakers advocate a respect for the rural class, while Gray’s speaker does it by likening the greats to the common men; Goldsmith uses hyperbole to lessen the appeal of the upper class. Gray’s work is succinct and contains many stylistic elements that encourage readers to see social classes as transparent and not as limiting. Goldsmith portrays the upper class as the death of rural life, whereas Gray’s speaker portrays the classes as not being mutually exclusive.

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