Dialogical And Formalistic Approach To Thomas Gray's Elegy (Eulogy) Written In A Country Churchyard

830 words - 3 pages

Dialogical and Formalistic Approach to Elegy (Eulogy) Written in a Country Churchyard

Elegy in a Country Courtyard, by Thomas Gray, can be looked at through two different methods. First the Dialogical Approach, which covers the ability of the language of the text to address someone without the consciousness that the exchange of language between the speaker and addressee occurs. (HCAL, 349) The second method is the Formalistic Approach, which allows the reader to look at a literary piece, and critique it according to its form, point of view, style, imagery, atmosphere, theme, and word choice. The formalistic views on form, allow us to look at the essential structure of the poem.

"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray shows aspects of both Dialogical and Formalistic Approaches. Gray's uses dialogic opposition, the way the author chooses to form his work so that the reader can interpret the characters' actions and words without the direct intervention of the author. (HCAL, 354) Gray lists the lifestyles of many different people in lines 32- 60. These stanzas cover all the different types of people that are buried in the churchyard. We can interpret the lifestyle and actions of the other characters because we have the ability to associate and connect what the narrator is telling us. By using the dialogic opposition, this allows the reader to identify the multiple types of characters in the poem, even if they don't all have dialogue.

Bakhtin's definition points toward a parallel between issues of knowledge and power among the characters and those between the author and the reader. In both cases, knowledge is best thought of as dialogic rather than monologic, as open to the other rather than closed, as addressing rather than defining. (HCAL, 351) The intelligence that the narrator demonstrates shows that this isn't the first time that he has been to the churchyard to try and figure out who is buried in the graves. He seems quite intrigued with the idea that all these people will never again celebrate the simple joys of life. The narrator of this poem, uses intellectual comments on the senses of the human body, to try and pull the reader into the situation that they are experiencing. It is almost as if the reader is taking the walk through the churchyard with the narrator. This characteristic is not only dialogical, but also a characteristic of formalistic approach.

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