Analysis of The Rich Man by Franklin P. Adams


Length: 596 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
Analysis of The Rich Man by Franklin P. Adams


Franklin P. Adams is one of the lesser known American modern poets. His poems, like the poems of many other 20th century American poets, comment the society after the industrial revolution. Adams’ poem, The Rich Man, concentrates on the class division between the rich and the poor. Furthermore it satirizes the old view of an impecunious life being the “good” and the virtuous one.

The two first stanzas of the poem are description about “the rich man”. The fact that he is called “the rich man” hints that the speaker him/herself is poor. The first stanza concentrates on describing the rich man’s belongings. The first thing the reader finds out the rich man has is a “motor-car”, nowadays simply a car. In the beginning of the 20th century, when this poem was written, cars were very expensive and only the rich could afford them. His two houses, one in the country and one in the city, and the fact that he is smoking a cigar which costs as much as a good meal furthermore accentuate his richness.

The second stanza concentrates on the ease of life the rich man is experiencing. He doesn’t have to struggle or even work to stay alive (“He frivols through the livelong day”). He is described as someone who has been born rich and who hasn’t had the displeasure of meeting “Poverty”. The third line of the second stanza seems to suggest that he is happy: “His lot seems light, his heart seems gay”. At the latest here starts the reader to suspect whether the rich man is really happy behind all his wealth. Is there possibly a shadow behind what only seems to be light and what seems to be gay? It reminds the reader of the old saying that money doesn’t bring happiness. The reader might even remember John Bartlett’s words “The love of money is the root of all evil”.

The third stanza continues to develop the theme of the possible darkness in the rich man’s life. It begins with a rhetorical question asked by the poor man:
“Yet though my lamp burns low dim,
Though I must slave for livelihood—
Think you that I would change with him?”
The reader expects the answer to be no and followed with an explanation how the poor man is happy as he is and that money doesn’t bring happiness. Wrong! The answer, “You bet I would!” declares a dramatic shift in the poem, which only the most prophetic reader could have anticipated.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Analysis of The Rich Man by Franklin P. Adams." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=127730>.
Title Length Color Rating  
John Adams' Influence on America Essay - John Adams' Influence on America JOHN ADAMS – A SHORT BIOGRAPHY HISTORY 1301 – U.S. HISTORY TO 1877 WHEN SEARCHING FOR THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON DURING THE EARLY U.S. HISTORY, GEORGE WASHINGTON COMES TO THE FOREFRONT. INCIDENTLY, DUE TO THE GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF THE RESEARCH, THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION ON PEOPLE OR EVENTS ON HISTORY BEFORE 1877. TO MY SURPRISE, INFORMATION WAS LOCATED ON JOHN AND ABIGAIL ADAMS. JOHN AND ABIGAIL ADAMS SUPPOSIVELY HAD A WONDERFUL LIFE AND MARRIAGE TOGETHER....   [tags: American History] 1168 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Benjamin Franklin: The Perfect American Man Essay example - Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant man who played an important part in the early life of America. He was respected by many, and he made great contributions to American society. While he was not perfect, he does exemplify the qualities of what it means to be American. Through his contributions in inventions, writing, and his practices in managing his time well, he was the perfect American man. With his tremendous intellectual gifts Franklin introduced devices to society that benefited America as a whole greatly....   [tags: Benjamin Franklin, USA, ] 555 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Education of Henry Adams Essay - "His work seemed to him thin, commonplace, feeble. At times he felt his own weakness so fatally that he could not go on; when he had nothing to say, he could not say it, and he found that he had very little to say at best" (Adams 39). Having been born into the upper class, Henry Adams graduated from high school and then for him, "the next regular step was Harvard" (Adams 32). Through Adam's essay, "The Education of Henry Adams", it is clear that the education he received at Harvard was plagued by his negative mindset that was triggered by his social status and the history of his surname....   [tags: Henry Adams] 835 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Benjamin Franklin, A Man of Many Talents Essay - Writer, printer, scientist, leader, inventor, and “rebel with a cause” are few of the many careers that Benjamin Franklin has been renowned for over the years. All of them truly reflect the abilities that he deployed during the birth of our nation. These qualities have also acknowledged a superb leader who serves as a prominent model and founding father to today’s generation. As a scientist, he experimented vastly with electricity. He invented the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and bifocal glasses during his scientist career....   [tags: Benjamin Franklin Biography] 499 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Aretha Franklin Essay - Aretha Louise Franklin also known as the Queen of Soul was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis Tennessee. She is known for being a solo singer, and also a very talented pianist. Soul, R&B, Jazz, and Gospel are genres that she sings. Throughout her career she signed with Colombia Records, along with some others, and has released many popular singles that would now be considered classical. Aretha was the first female artist to be introduced into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. She also had to grow up sooner than many other girls because she had her first child at a very young age....   [tags: Aretha Franklin]
:: 5 Works Cited
1339 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Essays: Adams' The Education - The Education The typist who appears next in the passage is a worker named metonymically for the machine she tends, so merged with it, in fact, that she is called a "typist" even at home. In The Education, Henry Adams proclaims his astonishment at the denizens of the new American cities: "new types, -- or type-writers, -- telephone and telegraph-girls, shop-clerks, factory hands, running into millions on millions .... " Eliot's point here seems very close to Adams's. Eliot's woman is also a "type," identified with her type-writer so thoroughly she becomes it....   [tags: Adams The Education Essays] 1151 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Franklins Preface To Poor Rich Essay - In Benjamin Franklin&#8217;s preface to Poor Richard Improved, "The Way to Wealth", Franklin offers many adages to help the reader conserve money. Many of these sayings are common even today. The title of this preface makes since because the title, "The Way to Wealth", can be interpreted as The Road to Wealth. If the reader does as these adages tell them, he or she should be on their way to wealth. Franklin offers advice to just about anybody. Franklin believed that wealth was important because it led to both frugality and industry....   [tags: essays research papers] 452 words
(1.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
John Adams by David McCullough Essays - John Adams, by David McCullough      The book, John Adams, by David McCullough, is a powerfully written biography of one of our nation’s greatest heroes. This biography explores Adams’ life in great depth, unveiling a side to his life unbeknownst to those who have never studied his life in great detail. Through diary entries, letters, and various other documents, the reader grasps a sense of what Adams’ day to day life was like, and is also able to grasp the enormity of his lifetime accomplishments....   [tags: Biography John Adams McCullough Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1712 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Ansel Adams Essay examples - "Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhuman spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, possess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally as a man desires a beautiful woman. An insane wish. Perhaps not-at least there’s nothing else, no one human, to dispute possession with me" (Abbey 6). People today seem to view our wondrous national parks as such a small part of our country. They do, in fact, only take up a small percentage of the total land in the United States, but they are so much more than just the amount of land they assume....   [tags: Ansel Adams Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1176 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
John Adams Essay - John Adams John Adams was born on October 30, 1725 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the family farm. He was the older of two younger brothers, Peter and Elihu. John was named after his father John Adams Sr. His father was said to be the town's tax collector, selectman, constable and lieutenant of the militia. John Adams Sr. was the younger Adams’ role model. John’s parents gave him a lot of freedom. It was said that he doing activities outdoors and cared little for school. It is said that John’s stubbornness started at the age of ten when his parents were afraid that he was wasting his exceptional intellect....   [tags: US History Biography John Adams] 1303 words
(3.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]



It throws Bartlett’s words right into the bin and brings in George Bernard Shaw’s response “Lack of money is the root of all evil” (Man and Superman, 1903). Money doesn’t bring happiness but it is a great help or as Albert Camus said it “It's a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money”.

The Rich Man isn’t a very technical poem. It is written in simple abab form and has little variation in the rhythm. On my opinion, the poet, Franklin P. Adams, has decided – with the risk of sounding naïve – not to hide his thoughts behind complex techniques. But he does have some imagery and parallelism a casual reader could leave unnoticed. The two first stanzas both have a personified abstract thing – Fate in the first and Poverty in the second. Fate is personified (in addition to writing it with a capital letter) when the rich man “jeers” at it. Poverty’s personification is done by referring to it as “her” and the fact that it has a “pinch”. These two personified things assert that the rich man is above all; Not even the mythical Fate or Poverty can get to him.

The second and the third stanza are connected by their contrasting imagery. The second stanza starts with a bright image of how the rich man “frivols through the livelong day”, whereas the third stanza starts with a rather dark image of how the poor man’s “lamp burns low and dim”. The word “frivols”(5) also contrasts the word “slave” (10). One could even say that Adams used the word “light” on the seventh line to contrast the dark and the bright even more. In addition, the rich man “has a cinch” (=an easy task, referring to his job) but the poor man “must slave for livelihood”.

The Rich Man by Franklin P. Adams illustrates a poor man’s thoughts about a rich man. The poem lures the reader into thinking that the poor man is a virtuous man who doesn’t care about earthly pleasures, such as wealth, cars or houses. By portraying the rich man only through his possessions, the reader sees him as a very shallow, or even as a very unhappy person. Someone anyone wouldn’t want to be, anyway. This is why the poor man’s answer to the question is so surprising. The answer rips the reader back down from the clouds of virtuous choices. It is a slap on Bartlett’s cheek. To me, this poem offered a much more realistic view of life than any romantic poem.


Return to 123HelpMe.com