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The Irony of Life: Analysis of a Suicide Character Essay

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“Richard Cory,” a poem written by Edwin Arlington Robinson, quietly exposes the irony of a rich gentleman’s life. It relates the story of a wealthy man who is admired by many of his workers and the people in town. He seems to have a perfect life; he is nice to people, well educated, just, humble, and wealthy. Despite all of this, Richard Cory shot and killed himself without an apparent reason.
The main character of the poem, Richard Cory, is an individual who represents the irony of modern American life. The poem seems to take place during The Gilded Age where the people who had an education were wealthy and the rest of them were just poor. The main thrust of this poem suggests the differences between the wealthy and the poor. During this time, people’s socio-economic classes were easier to identify. Richard Cory belongs to the high economic class, while the narrator fits in lower class. “We people on the pavement looked at him/ He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (2-3). It is a difficult time for working class people to obtain what they need, that is why they want to have Richard Cory’s life. Even though it can be difficult for the reader to know where exactly the poem takes place, the reader can have an idea of the size and system that it has. Robinson’s poem seems to happen in a small town where Richard Cory is one of the wealthiest men. He seems to be known by almost everyone in this town.
The poem has a great language use. The poet does not use many metaphors, similes, and symbolism, but the words still have resonance, even though the poem is quite short and literal. The poet describes Richard Cory throughout the poem, giving the reader a clear idea of who Richard Cory is. In the first stanza, the poet tells the reader wh...


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..., after reading the song and the poem, the reason why Richard Cory killed himself is because he did not have a dream to fight for. According to the speaker of Simon’s song, “He had everything a man could want/ Power, grace and style” (7-8). When a person has everything, there is not a motivation to keep going; there is nothing to look forward to.


Works Cited

Robinson, Edwin Arlington. “Richard Cory.” Literature: An introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 7th Compact ed. New York: Pearson, 599-600. Print.
Simon, Paul. . “Richard Cory.” Literature: An introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 7th Compact ed. New York: Pearson, 2013. 600. Print.
Sweet, Charles A., Jr. ""A Re-Examination of "Richard Cory"" Colby Library Quarterly, series 9, no.11, September 1972, p.579-582.


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