Everyone in the world pursues to have a good life. The meaning of good life varies based
on the socioeconomic status of individuals. Regardless of any condition of nature, any person
presupposes that life has definite value in itself. Irrespective of the social class, health status,
socioeconomic status and company, life has its positive value. Many authors such as "Gray's
Elegy" has surveyed the value of life through death. The text has provided parables and fables
presuming the value of absolute faith and common social structures. The literary works of Gray
have reinforced the community's beliefs and assumptions concerning the value of life.
Additionally, the poetry, parable, fable, allegory and personal essay reflected by Gray
significantly influence the structure of the value about the good life in the community.
As indicated by Williams Jonathan, the poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”
can be suitably understood in connection to two major poetic traditions: elegiac and landscape
traditions. These traditions were widespread during the first half of the 18 th century. Elegiac
tradition encompasses the meditation of death or any other solemn theme in a literature text.
Landscape tradition advocated for the connection of people’s embodiment between the natural
world and the metaphysical and philosophical musings. These two traditions have helped Gray to
address the aspect of good life through the application of death and its inevitable fate.
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Death is the dominant theme of the "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," has a
cultural background where is considered inevitable. The poem depicts the sentimental tone of
"memento mori," meaning the reminder of own mortality. The scene of the proceedings was at
Country Churchyard full of the graveyard. The presence of many graveyards shows the rate of
mortality rate in the society addressed. In the poem, Gray has incorporated various symbols that
depict death: "the curfew tolls, the day is parting and all the air a solemn stillness holds." The
graves are illustrated as the "narrow cells and lowly beds." These symbols and allegories try to
show the nature of death. Death doesn't pursue a good life. In most cultures, death has deemed a
curse. Dead people are helpless people with no hope and future. This is against the will of good
life, which is encircled around hope and faith of a prosperous life. From the persona in the poem,
the things done by the dead people are irretrievable histories.
However, from the 9 th stanza of the poem, the writer claims that death is the perfect
standard that levels all classes of people. Regardless of ho0w rich or poor one is, death is
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power."
"And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave."
"Awaits alike the inevitable hour."
"The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
The writer is wondering about the dead. What good can they be remembered with? Therefore,
any person is supposed to pursue the good lifestyle and good interaction with people because
living is a short-lived experience that might expire surprisingly. The poem if full or death
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imaginations. These imaginations help one to acknowledge the presence and inevitability of
death. For instance, in the graves lie people of different calibers and classes like John Milton, a
great writer, and Cromwell, a renowned leader. In stanza 98, Grays, the persona of the poem
imagines how people would remember his during his death duration. "Hoary-headed swain" for
instance an old farmer giving comments about the life of Gray after his death. This farmer recalls
that Gray was an itinerant, "forlorn or crossed in hopeless love."
As indicated by Williams Jonathan, being aware and meditating about the death of other
helps people to accept death and believe that one day in the history they will die. Although death
meditation seems pessimistic, it is essential since it allows people to discover the reality of life.
With the mentality that one day you shall die, the people can pursue a good life and acquiring all
the desires before meeting their demise. Good life entails capitalizing on the days given to live
under the sun. Therefore, when people are cocksure that one day they shall surely die, can then
choose between making the best of life and make use of every moment on earth.
The good life is when people can become greater in life. As included in this epitaph
poem, people who are privileged to achieve greater things on earth are considered those with a
good experience. The poem discloses the poet's grave as the focus of the epitaph depicts is
unknown and obscure. The situations prevented the poet from becoming something significant in
life. As a result, he had no good life to live. Because of this, the poet is separated from other
people with a "good life" since he couldn't afford to join the ordinary affairs of life.
The theme of the natural world and the man shows the aspect of good life. The natural
world can influence good life pursuit. Throughout the "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,"
poem, there several natural images counteracting the doom and gloom of good life. For Gray,
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natural world provides general hope and breeze that is a source of renewal and refreshment
regardless of the worn out effect of hard life. Every natural thing, ultimately, experience the life
cycle of onset, living, death, and new life. Nature and natural worlds depict the death thriving
cycles as well as renewal that offers the source of hope at the time of facing inevitable death
(Williams Jonathan, 662). Therefore, Gray presents the poem with images of primeval and
primitive nature to help the readers and the audience to understand the cycles of life.
In conclusion, the "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" presents strides for the
countryside living standards by mourning the deaths of both rich and poor. The persona, Gray
evokes some natural life cycles for humanity and the natural world. Therefore, meditating the
inevitability of death, including everyone provokes the sense of self-realization that would
accordingly help in pursuing one's good life. The good life is the cry of every living creature.
Being poor or rich is not one's choice but the complexion of the circumstances. Anybody needs
to live a life of a king.
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Gray, Thomas, and Peter Hühn. Elegy written in a Country Churchyard. TY Crowell &
Company, 1917. Retrieved from
Williams, Jonathan C. "Thomas Gray's Elegy and the Politics of Memorialization." SEL Studies
in English Literature 1500-1900 58.3 (2018): 653-672. Retrieved from