Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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The literary term that is most prominent in “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson is theme. In “Richard Cory,” the poem tells the life of a man named Richard Cory.

Richard Cory is portrayed as a man whom the people idolize, but in reality, Richard Cory deals with issues deep within himself that leads to his devastating suicide.

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...

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...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 life.

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