Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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The narrator in “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson is a low class working citizen telling the reader, in detail, about a distinguished gentleman named Richard Cory who eventually “put a bullet through his head.” Almost everyone, including the narrator, would stare at him with awe every time they saw him. He was “imperially slim”(4), always charismatic and well-dressed. He was extremely courteous and polite. He would please everyone’s heart with a simple “Good Morning.” Then the narrator soon explains that on “one calm summer night” he executes himself by putting a gun to his head. When I first read the poem, I thought it told the story of a young man and his riches. After about my third or fourth reading, I realized this poem is revealing that no matter how suicidal one gets, he or she should know that his or her life is not at its worse.

The first two lines of the poem are “Whenever Richard Cory went down town,/We people on the pavement looked at him.” After only reading those two lines and not knowing what the poem was about, I thought Richard Cory must be someone very special. When finishing the first stanza, I thought to myself, “Who is this man and why are they so star-strucked by him?” After reading it again, I found that maybe the “people on the pavement” worked for a low salary and rarely saw anybody that looked, dressed, and conducted themselves in a pleasing manner. The bystanders are probably questioning what a man with such taste and an aristocrat would ...

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