How and Why Is the Supernatural Used in:

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jillian101
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How and why is the supernatural used in:

"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"


Thomas Gray

English 270

Romantic Gothic: Poetry and Short Fiction

6 March 2015

In the poem, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray, the use of the supernatural serves as an underlying motif to focus the narrator and set the stage for the theme. That being, the poor are born with the same natural abilities as members of the upper class and thus, should be memorialized accordingly. Gray suggests the ‘common’ people buried in the churchyard should have memorials on their graves just like the rich and famous do because they could have probably been something if given the chance. Gray’s use of the supernatural and the theme of the poem being; an ‘equalization’ of the regular or ‘common’ person to those that are wealthy and famous, may be the reason that the poem is so popular to this day. ‘Memento mori’, is a Latin phrase for, ‘remember that you must die’. Gray acknowledeges the fact that everyone must die and considers the premise that in death, there is no difference between great and common people. Gray wonders if among the ‘lowly’ people buried in the churchyard would there have been any poets or politicians whose talent had simply never been discovered or fostered? “Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air” (55-56). Furthermore, Gray appeals to the rich, “Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and estiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, The short and simple annals of the poor” (29-32) to not be arrogant because although these common people may not have not done anything of note they were happy people that were content with their lives and were useful. Specifically, the use of the supernatural serves as a catalyst to…...

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