The Role of Unfulfilled Expectations in E. A. Robinson's Richard Cory

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The Role of Unfulfilled Expectations in E. A. Robinson's Richard Cory In E. A. Robinson's "Richard Cory", Cory commits suicide because he could not live up to everyone's expectations of him. In the very first stanza of the poem Cory is described by the author: "He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim" (Robinson l. 3 & 4), suggesting and comparing him to royalty. Surely, living up to such a hierarchy is the most taxing task one can be appointed. The poem makes reference to his material possessions, suggesting this is one of the key qualities people admire him for. Cory possibly facing bankruptcy feels he will be nothing and thought of as nothing once these gifts are gone. Such high expectations and admiration of Cory have backed him into a corner where he feels the only escape is a suicidal death. It has been believed by many that royalty is directly appointed by God, such a position carries an immense amount of expectations. At times, these expectations are not even ascertainable due to the fact that royalty is looked at as flawless and all-knowing individuals. For a single human to cope with this is assuming a great amount of strength is possessed by the man. As stated by Robinson: "In fine we thought he was everything" (l. 11), expresses how immeasurably high the expectations were for Cory. To be held to such a high standard is difficult for any average human to manage and cope with. Fear of making the slightest mistake as the man is being watched under a microscope causes a permanent stress within one's soul. Living life knowing others are admirable of your status and position makes every day decisions just as crucial as a King's decisiveness. As an average member of societ... ... middle of paper ... ...ost literal and logical sense, a self-inflicted death is a more supported idea, especially when Robinson writes: "Went home and put a bullet through his head" (l. 16). I talked of the death being made to look like an accident, but that is purely an outside spin that a reader has to put on the verse. Taking the literal meaning of what the author states is more convincing. The stresses that Cory endures due to the high pedestal he is held on is a stronger cause for an individual to snap than that of the envious and jealous nature humans are use to dealing with. Cory committing suicide is a much more believable approach than that of a murder. Work Cited Robinson, Edwin Arlington. "Richard Cory." Literature-Reading, Reacting, Writing, 4th ed. Laurie Kirszner & Stephen Mandell, eds. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2001. 986.

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