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Thomas Gray's Thoughts On Death Essay

2654 words - 11 pages

Thomas Gray had a tough childhood. As a young man, he suffered through terrible heartaches. Because of this, Gray turned to writing to ease the pain. Death and its problems were the main topic in most of his poems. As a writer, Thomas Gray inspired other people to think about their emotions and death with his poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”
Thomas Gray’s poetry was called Pre-Romantic poetry which put a focus on nature and the life of common people.1 The subjects of death, suicide, and physical decay have always been on people’s mind. During Gray’s time, sadness was a popular theme.2 People were facing difficulties such as war and disease. Thomas Gray captured the emotions of people perfectly with his poems.
When he was younger, Thomas Gray lived his mother and aunt in the village of Stoke Poges. Stoke Poges was the place where he decided to write poetry.3 He would take long walks through fields and other places. He would remember everything he saw.4 The church and the graveyard were two places that stood out to him.5 This inspired him to write the poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”
Thomas Gray was also inspired by nature. He knew that nature could help someone deal with pain. Nature can soothe and fix any sadness we have. The scenery and beauty of nature helped him write the poem.6 There was something calming and comforting about nature that helped Gray. However, He also felt angst and a burden in his life.7 He felt tragedy as he walked through the churchyard.8
Even though Gray was inspired by his surroundings and nature, death had a major influence on “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” There were two major deaths in his life that affected his poetry. One of the deaths was his aunt. His aunt’s death affected his whole family.9 No one expected her to die so suddenly. Her sudden death caused Gray to think about his own life.10 He decided to put his emotions into poetry.
Thomas Gray was in the middle of another poem when he learned about the death of a close friend, Richard West. The death of his friend increased his creativity in his poems. Gray faced months of grief before he wrote “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” Writing poetry helped him deal with death and other problems.11 He felt fearful of what was ahead.
“Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” captures the emotions of everyone in society. The poem is very simple but it touches the hearts of all readers.12 In the first two stanzas, it shows ordinary people doing what they love. He admired these people because they worked so hard. He tries to figure out what they are thinking about. He believes they are thinking about the future.13
The first two stanzas also capture the mystery of evening. Thomas Gray describes nature perfectly in the poem. Phrases such as “rugged elms,” “yew-tree’s shade,” and “wood now smiling in scorn” are examples that show how descriptive Gray can be.14 Gray captures the night life perfectly when he talks about the owl....

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