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An interpretation of richard cory a poem by edwin arlington robinson

Summary and Critical Analysis The speaker of this poem belongs to the lower class.

When Richard Cory went to the city, the speaker and his friends would look at him. Richard Cory looked a perfect gentleman. He seemed to be enjoying all the advantages. He was well dressed.

Using Robinson's Poem in the Classroom

He talked very politely. But when he said good morning, he would be over-excited.

Robinson 1869-1935 The jewellery he wore would shine brightly. He was richer than a king. He was trained in every kind of polite behavior.

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The speaker was jealous of him and wished that he had been Richard Cory. The working class people would work hard but they could afford only bread, not meat. They heard that one night Richard Cory went home and shot himself dead. But he killed himself suddenly, without apparent reason.

Irony is the main feature in the poem. He is among the poor people who looked at Cory in amazement as he went downtown. He describes the gentleman with exaggeration which is almost absurd.

Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson

This tells how highly these poor people regarded by him. In short, this man made everyone wish that they were in his place. Probably, he was unhappy. He was tired of life itself. Perhaps his status did not allow him to speak out.

  • Literary Terms All of the following literary terms and devices are elements present in this poem;
  • In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place;
  • Then, Richard Cory unexpectedly killed himself;
  • We worked hard, sacrificing and striving for a position next to him;
  • Consonant with his general communicative attempts in line eight the very "human" Richard Gory tries to talk with the people.

Perhaps he was burdened with inarticulate grief and worries. Richard Cory is basically an ironic poem. It deals with the irony that rich people are not happy with their life, and the poor think that wealth is the guarantee of happiness.

Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson: Summary and Critical Analysis

Richard Cory, the character, is also an individual who represents the irony of modern American life. The poem develops in such a way as to suddenly expose the irony of all its overstatement until near its end.

In the first three stanzas of the poem, we are given the impression that Richard Cory is a man who has all what he wants from life and is completely satisfied.

  • Even though he spoke to us on our level, people got excited when he spoke to them;
  • First published in 1923;
  • They do not serve who only work and wait;
  • What is he saying?
  • The language is straightforward though quietly stirring.

Only that we are a bit puzzled by the uncommon wording and expressions. Some expressions are somewhat absurd and we fail to make sense out of them. It is clear that he had been living with a suicidal depression. All the appreciation of wealthier life, great personality, and all the big words given to describe Richard Cory now tell us a striking irony.

  • But what matters is the attitude of the speaker toward himself and especially toward the other townspeople;
  • Probably, he was unhappy;
  • Unquestionably, he was moved deeply by the tragic incidence of failure in the lives of his two brothers;
  • In short, we held him on top of a pedestal, and dreamed of being up there with him.

We now feel that he is using absurd words to indicate the absurdity of the apparent perfection and happiness of Richard Cory. After we learn that he commits suicides without any good reason we now begin to search for a probable reason from the preceding stanzas.

Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson - An Analysis with Lesson Plan Ideas

His slimness stanza1quietness and fluttering and glittering stanza2his being richer than a king and his enviably perfect manners stanza3 all become ironic in the light of the fact that none of them were making his personal life happy and satisfying.

The speaker thought that poor people are the only sufferers in life, as if poverty is the only problem in life. Now we see that it is a foolish idea.

Happiness is not a matter of being rich or powerful. To have a high status, a lot of money or to be popular are no guarantees of happy life.

This in general, is the theme of the irony; it is also an irony about the material prosperity of the modern American. There is also another more general irony about human beings.

The speaker also says that they did not eat the bread they could get and they went without the meant that they could not get.

They cursed the bread they could get! This is an irony; those who get something like something else, something better, and those who do not get it are dreaming of it, somewhere. The poem Richard Cory by Robinson has also been described as a modern ballad by some critics. It is in simple four line stanzas and a rhyming scheme as abab. It is tragic and has a moral.

  1. The poor people of the town continue to remain poor even as they work and hope for things to get better.
  2. The next two mention the habitual demeanor that elevates him still more in men's regard.
  3. And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head. To repeat this sort of analysis for each of Robinson's poems would be as profitless as tedious to most readers, who will want to do it themselves if they want it done at all.
  4. When Richard Cory came into our lower class neighborhood, everyone stood aside and watched him. The irony of the ending, then, is not that the people were endowed with greater values than Cory or that simply they failed to understand his message, or even that the light they sought glowed in their midst all the time.
  5. Robinson's second book of poems, Children of the Night, "Richard Cory" is one of the short, lyrical and dramatic character sketches that Robinson is now best known for, although during his life he was most famous for the long poems he wrote later in his career. It is an inevitability, predetermined by the subjugation of selfhood.

It is also dramatic in a sense that it is a thought-provoking compressed little story.