Edwin Arlington Robinson's Richard Cory

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Edwin Arlington Robinson's Richard Cory

I have always secretly envied my dearest high school friend Erin. It was easy to be jealous of Erin since she was tall with beautiful blonde hair that turned many heads. She possessed grace and style and had the coolest car. Though people try to resist envy, most succumb to it from time to time. As people focus on all that they lack, they tend to ignore the flaws in those they envy. The observers in the poem Richard Cory allow envy to cloud their perception of themselves.

Cory appears to have it all. The poor townspeople look at him and they see the qualities that they themselves lack. An ugly person may believe that if they were beautiful then happiness would be secure. A lonely person believes that finding someone to end his loneliness would diminish his sadness. This is evident in the first three stanzas. The townspeople notice Cory’s appearance as superior to their own. “He glittered when he walked” (Robinson 986). They also noted the main character’s manner and abundance of material possessions. The observers were too busy working to have time to put effort in improving manners and could not even think of saving money when they were lucky not to starve. Many people want to be more outwardly beautiful or to have more money. My aunt and uncle were coming home to Indiana from Iowa for the Thanksgiving holiday six years ago when they met a drunk driver in a head-on collision. I remember the anguish my family felt for the following few days when we were unsure whether my uncle was going to survive. He did survive though he was altered for the next few years and suffered permanent damage to his body. Insurance companies are set up to right wrongs wit...

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...een fulfilled. The observers’ separate Cory and isolate him because of their perceptions of him.

I learned a very important lesson about envy a few years after becoming friends with Erin. After spending a few years wishing to be more like her, I expressed my feeling of envy. To my amazement, she expressed shock at the idea of my jealousy. She then told me of how before she became my friend that she was envious of me. I was friendly and possessed an outgoing personality whereas she was very timid. If the townspeople had the opportunity to develop a relationship with Richard Cory as I had with my schoolmate, they likely would have discovered their enviable qualities as well.


Robinson, Edwin Arlington. “Richard Cory” Literature Reading, Reacting, Writing. 4th Ed. Ed. Camille Adkins. Orlando: Harcourt College Publishers, 2001. 986.
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