Bridges Can Take You Anywhere! Essay

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When people imagine a bridge, a wooden structure that provides a walkway over a body of water usually comes to mind. However, people themselves can also be described as bridges. The 18th century poet Thomas Gray is often referred to as a literary bridge between neoclassicism and the Romantic Movement due to the contrasting elements of both styles within his poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” Neoclassicism is characterized by a regard for the classical ideals of reason, form, and restraint, while Romanticism is an artistic movement that values imagination and feeling over intellectual reason. Gray includes both neoclassic and romantic elements throughout his famous elegy that ponders the purpose of life, human potential, and the democracy of death.
This famous poem includes multiple examples of neoclassicism. Aside from its reason, form, and restraint, it also contains an organized iambic pentameter system. Gray describes the setting of the poem by using this system in lines one and two, “The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,/The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea.” This describes the sun setting as evening and darkness is arriving. However, Gray also includes the use of metaphors and personification to further his neoclassic writing style. In the eighth stanza Gray states, “Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,/Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;/Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile” (lines 29-31). This example includes a clear form of reason, which can be compared and reflected to the former neoclassic writing style in the 18th Century.
Romanticism is based on emotion and the value of people and their relationships, but can also be defined as looking at nature as a renewing source. This poem includes multiple examples of romanticism. In stanza four Gray describes how he ponders life, “Each in his narrow cell forever laid,/The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep” (lines 15-16). As Gray is walking through the churchyard and contemplates life,...

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