Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson Analysis

In the poem, Richard Cory is believed to be superior in contrast to the working people. The poem states, “Whenever Richard Cory went down town, we people on the pavement looked at him” (754). The working people had very little money and work consistently to survive, “So on we worked, and waited for the light, and went without the meat, and cursed the bread” (755). The people admired Richard Cory and wished to one day have the same wealth as Richard Cory, “And he was rich—yes, richer than a king” (755).

Richard Cory is well-presented, and the people described Richard Cory appearance as “Cleaned favored, an imperially slim” (754). In the poem, the people also described Richard Cory as a “gentleman from sole to crown” (754) and “And admirably schooled in every grace” (755). Richard Cory symbolized everything a working man strived to accomplish, “To make us wish that we were in his place” (755). In the poem, the people represent the lower working-class and Richard Cory represents the higher level of society.

The people hope to one day become like Richard Cory through hard work and determination.

In the poem, clearly the people think Richard Cory has the perfect life and have no knowledge of the struggles Richard Cory faces. Throughout the poem, the reader believes that Richard Cory is a legendary man. Richard Cory is depicted as a man who kept to himself, the poem states, “He was always quietly arrayed” (754). In the poem, the people also portray Richard Cory as down to earth, it states, “He was always human when he talked” (754).

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Richard Cory did not believe he was better than anyone else; he was humble. Richard Cory is also noticeable, the people stated, “He glittered when he walked” (754). Everyone held Richard Cory as in higher figure, so ending of the poem is surprising. The last line of the poem states, “Went home and put a bullet through his head” (755). The ending of the poem is shocking to the reader; the reader is not expecting Richard Cory to commit suicide. The poem describes Richard Cory in a graceful manner, and the reader would not assume the ending.

The people describe a two-dimensional Richard Cory. Throughout the poem, the people simply analyze Richard Cory appearance and do not understand the inner being of Richard Cory. In the poem, the reader is concealed to the instability that Richard Cory encountered that caused his suicide. The reader perceives Richard Cory as an ideal man and is not aware of the difficulties Richard Cory battles internally. After Richard Cory’s suicide the poem ends, but the poem indicates that the people learn from Richard Cory’s death. In the poem, the people realize that Richard Cory’s life was not as fascinating as they expected, the poem states that, “We thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place” (755). The people believe that Richard Cory is a magnificent man because of his appearance. However, the people never really understand what is going on in the life of Richard Cory; the people did not understand the struggles Richard Cory experiences inside.

The reason Richard Cory commits suicide is insignificant because the reader still can interpret the message that the appearance of a person can be misleading. In life, there are always subject matters in which things seem better than what they are. Everyone in some aspect has impairments that halt their progression to find life’s satisfactions. Richard Corey had everything a person can dream of such as his class and wealth. He also had intangibles that many envied such as humility and appearance. These qualities do not guarantee instantaneous happiness, as depicted in the poem. Happiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Meaning what a person may find satisfying or joyous, does not correlate with the rest of the population. Everyone has his or her own idea of happiness.

In the poem, the working class admires what Richard Cory possesses. The process in which Richard Cory gained his wealth in unknown, along with what he may have loss within his conquest to establish his wealth. Success is impossible to measure because success varies from person to person. It is also impossible to draw conclusions on the reasons that he committed suicide other than each conclusion has an underlining theme of unhappiness. The people in the poem could not fathom on why he committed suicide. They viewed him as an icon and an epitome of success. Through his death, Richard Cory made the working people look at their lives in retrospect to see what would make them happy.

The working people stated that he committed suicide on a summer night. Usually summer nights are filled with fun and extravagant things, for someone to commit suicide; they would have to feel as cold as winter on the inside. Wealth and stature did not have the same meaning to Richard Cory as wealth meant to the working class. Richard Cory found that he did not see the beauty of life and was not happy, so he committed suicide. Edwin Arlington Robinson wants readers to look at their lives and determine what makes his or her life joyful and learn from Richard Cory’s death. Social and financial status is not what determines happiness, but, rather the gift of happiness and life.

We people on the pavement looked at him
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

The poem is rich in language use. The poet does not employ many poetic devices, no metaphor, no simile, no symbolism, but still the words have resonance, even though the poem is quite literal. For example, in the first line, “Whenever Richard Cory went down town,” sets up the dichotomy that holds throughout the poem. If Richard Cory went down town, he must have previously been up town, indicating a wealthy residential neighborhood; whereas “down town” suggests the business district where apartment dwellers and the working class reside. The main thrust of this poem suggests the differences between the wealthy and the less-well-off. The speaker of the poem belongs to the latter class, and the poem clearly draws distinctions between “us” and “him” (Richard Cory).

In the second line, “We people on the pavement” suggests a lower class: we looked up to him as well as merely staring at him as “looked at him” indicates. The third and fourth lines offer the first description of Richard Cory: the term “gentleman” continues the division being drawn between the two socio-economic classes. A “gentleman” belongs to the gentry or higher socio-economic class than simply “a man.” Then by claiming that Cory demonstrated this gentlemanly quality from “sole to crown,” the speaker is emphasizing how entirely kingly this Cory was. “Sole” simply refers to his shoes, but “crown,” meaning the top of his head, also produces a pun or a double meaning, including the kind of head-gear a king would wear. This pun is one of the few actual figurative uses of languages used in this poem.

Second Stanza

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

The speaker of this poem is careful to make sure his listeners understand that Richard Cory was just a really nice guy. He did not look down on the common folk; he did not behave arrogantly; he spoke to people the way the speaker would expect him to, “he was always human when he talked.” Cory seemed very friendly, affable, happy, just like the common working-class stiffs only better looking and richer. Even though Cory was “quietly arrayed,” not arrogant or haughty, and even though he chatted like a regular guy, still he made people a little nervous when he addressed them, and he looked like gold as he passed by. We must remember that the speaker is a little obsessed with Richard Cory’s behavior and appearance, so while the speaker wants us to realize that Cory was a nice man who would chat with the common folk, still his manner and appearance had an effect on people. Third Stanza

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

In this stanza, the speaker tells us quite plainly that Richard Cory was rich, but the speaker also exaggerates Cory’s wealth by saying he was “richer than a king.” And at this point, we can be sure the speaker is, indeed, referring to money, not personality and a successful life, because in the next line, the speaker informs us that Cory was educated in every respect; Cory had knowledge as well as good behavior. The next two lines reveal again that it is the common folk, “we,” of which the speaker is part who are making these observations and drawing these conclusions about Richard Cory. They conclude that Cory had everything a human being should have and everything they were striving for. They wished they were Richard Cory.

Fourth Stanza

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

The first two lines of the last stanza once more demonstrate the differences between the two socio-economic classes appearing the poem: the common working-class folk who admired the wealth and style of Richard Cory struggled on and on, striving for the day when they too could be like him. Not only did they work hard, but they also sacrificed because they could not buy everything they wanted, and they complained about the low quality of the things they could afford. And then we come to the last two lines that shock and startle so: Richard Cory, the man who has everything, the man who was everything that these hard working folk wanted to be—this icon of success and happiness—kills himself. We can certainly take from this poem the old adage that appearances are deceiving, but we get much more than that, if we look closely. The poet, Edwin Arlington Robinson, has composed nearly perfect poem in its truth about life, its sense of the nature of human personalities, its rhythm, its rime scheme, and it does all this while remaining quite literal without one metaphor or simile.

In the poem, Richard Cory is believed to be superior in contrast to the working people. The poem states, “Whenever Richard Cory went down town, we people on the pavement looked at him” (754). The working people had very little money and work consistently to survive, “So on we worked, and waited for the light, and went without the meat, and cursed the bread” (755). The people admired Richard Cory and wished to one day have the same wealth as Richard Cory, “And he was rich—yes, richer than a king” (755). Richard Cory is well-presented, and the people described Richard Cory appearance as “Cleaned favored, an imperially slim” (754). In the poem, the people also described Richard Cory as a “gentleman from sole to crown” (754) and “And admirably schooled in every grace” (755). Richard Cory symbolized everything a working man strived to accomplish, “To make us wish that we were in his place” (755). In the poem, the people represent the lower working-class and Richard Cory represents the higher level of society. The people hope to one day become like Richard Cory through hard work and determination. In the poem, clearly the people think Richard Cory has the perfect life and have no knowledge of the struggles Richard Cory faces.

Throughout the poem, the reader believes that Richard Cory is a legendary man. Richard Cory is depicted as a man who kept to himself, the poem states, “He was always quietly arrayed” (754). In the poem, the people also portray Richard Cory as down to earth, it states, “He was always human when he talked” (754). Richard Cory did not believe he was better than anyone else; he was humble. Richard Cory is also noticeable, the people stated, “He glittered when he walked” (754). Everyone held Richard Cory as in higher figure, so ending of the poem is surprising. The last line of the poem states, “Went home and put a bullet through his head” (755). The ending of the poem is shocking to the reader; the reader is not expecting Richard Cory to commit suicide. The poem describes Richard Cory in a graceful manner, and the reader would not assume the ending. The people describe a two-dimensional Richard Cory.

Throughout the poem, the people simply analyze Richard Cory appearance and do not understand the inner being of Richard Cory. In the poem, the reader is concealed to the instability that Richard Cory encountered that caused his suicide. The reader perceives Richard Cory as an ideal man and is not aware of the difficulties Richard Cory battles internally. After Richard Cory’s suicide the poem ends, but the poem indicates that the people learn from Richard Cory’s death. In the poem, the people realize that Richard Cory’s life was not as fascinating as they expected, the poem states that, “We thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place” (755). The people believe that Richard Cory is a magnificent man because of his appearance. However, the people never really understand what is going on in the life of Richard Cory; the people did not understand the struggles Richard Cory experiences inside.

The reason Richard Cory commits suicide is insignificant because the reader still can interpret the message that the appearance of a person can be misleading. In life, there are always subject matters in which things seem better than what they are. Everyone in some aspect has impairments that halt their progression to find life’s satisfactions. Richard Corey had everything a person can dream of such as his class and wealth. He also had intangibles that many envied such as humility and appearance. These qualities do not guarantee instantaneous happiness, as depicted in the poem. Happiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Meaning what a person may find satisfying or joyous, does not correlate with the rest of the population. Everyone has his or her own idea of happiness. In the poem, the working class admires what Richard Cory possesses. The process in which Richard Cory gained his wealth in unknown, along with what he may have loss within his conquest to establish his wealth.

Success is impossible to measure because success varies from person to person. It is also impossible to draw conclusions on the reasons that he committed suicide other than each conclusion has an underlining theme of unhappiness. The people in the poem could not fathom on why he committed suicide. They viewed him as an icon and an epitome of success. Through his death, Richard Cory made the working people look at their lives in retrospect to see what would make them happy.

The working people stated that he committed suicide on a summer night. Usually summer nights are filled with fun and extravagant things, for someone to commit suicide; they would have to feel as cold as winter on the inside. Wealth and stature did not have the same meaning to Richard Cory as wealth meant to the working class. Richard Cory found that he did not see the beauty of life and was not happy, so he committed suicide. Edwin Arlington Robinson wants readers to look at their lives and determine what makes his or her life joyful and learn from Richard Cory’s death. Social and financial status is not what determines happiness, but, rather the gift of happiness and life.

To me the poem illustrates that it is important to be happy with the life your living and not assume that just because someone has money, they are better off.

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Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson Analysis. (2017, Jan 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/richard-cory-by-edwin-arlington-robinson-analysis-essay

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