When Megan and Jerry talk about her schooling, she mentions disliking Shelley and his skylarks. “To a Skylark” is a poem completed by Percy Bysshe Shelley in late June 1820. It was inspired by an evening walk in the country near Livorno, Italy, with his wife Mary Shelley, and describes the appearance and song of a skylark they come upon.
She also talks about Wordsworth and his daffodils. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also commonly known as “Daffodils“) is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth. It is Wordsworth’s most famous work. The poem was inspired by an event on 15 April 1802, in which Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils. Written some time between 1804 and 1807 (in 1804 by Wordsworth’s own account), it was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a revised version was published in 1815.
Megan claims that she likes and understand Goneril and Regan, the two elder daughters of King Lear. Goneril and Regan are characters in Shakespeare‘s tragic play King Lear (1605). Goneril is the eldest of King Lear’s three daughters, and Regan is the second. The two sisters are considered a villain, obsessed with power and overthrowing her elderly father as ruler of the kingdom of Britain.
When Mrs Symmington dies, it is the coroner who concludes that she has killed herself. A coroner is a person whose standard role is to confirm and certify the death of an individual within a jurisdiction. A coroner may also conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death, and investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the coroner’s jurisdiction.
Jerry mentions Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary, when he is discussing the benefits of idleness with Miss Griffith. Edward Grey, (25 April 1862 – 7 September 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey was a British Liberal statesman. An adherent of the “New Liberalism”, he served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. Jerry mentions the man’s idleness when he was in Oxford University. Grey went on to Balliol College, Oxford, in 1880. Apparently an indolent student, he was tutored by Mandell Creighton during the vacations and managed a second class honours degree in Honour Moderations. Grey subsequently became even more idle, using his time to become university champion at real tennis.
Mr Pye mentions the Lizzie Borden case when he is talking about what is happening in the village with the poisonous letters and Agnes’s murder. Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was an American woman who gained infamy in being tried and acquitted for the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. The case was a cause célèbre throughout the United States. Following her release from the prison in which she had been held during the trial, Borden chose to remain a resident of Fall River, Massachusetts, for the rest of her life, despite facing significant ostracism.