Essay on Analysis of Night Mother and Richard Cory

Essay on Analysis of Night Mother and Richard Cory

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"Night Mother" and "Richard Cory" are two pieces that both deal with suicide. The characters in both are so different, yet at the same time, very much alike. Both contain a lot of surprises and even somewhat confusing parts. The reader is left asking themselves why the characters in both of these writings had to end it all. Did they really have it that bad?

"Night Mother" deals with a woman named Jessie who suffers from epilepsy and lives with her mother, who is named Thelma. From the beginning one can see that Thelma talks non stop and that Jessie is not very happy with her current situation. Jessie begins to inquire about the whereabouts of her father's gun. At first she claims that it is for protection, but then soon admits that she wants to kill herself.

"Im going to kill myself, mama. How would you know if I didn't say it? You want a surprise? You're lying there in your bed or maybe you're just brushing your teeth and you hear this...noise down the hall?."

The reader can tell that Jessie is very serious and is capable of doing it. Thelma seems to try several tactics in distracting Jessie from thoughts of death. Whether telling a story about her friend Agnes, or convincing Jessie that her son Ricky will turn out alright, Thelma attempts everything she can think of. She even talks about little things that may cheer Jessie up.

"Not something like killing yourself. Something like, buying us all new dishes! I'd like that. Or maybe the doctor would let you get a driver's license now, or I know what let's do right this minute, lets rearrange the furniture."

After everything fails, Jessie begins to tell Thelma of her exact plans and even how Thelma should call the police when she kills he...


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...e has everything, they all want to be him. He is educated and polite. On the other hand, Jessie is pale, sick, and comes from a lower class background. She seems to be the more likely of the two to commit suicide. While both may be from different backgrounds, both faced inner pain that pushed them to kill themselves. Both characters likely had different goals in life, different outlooks, and probably a different work rate. At one point in "Night mother", Jessie even talks about contemplating staying alive if she could have some food that she would really like. Did Richard Cory kill himself for deeper reasons? Surely, Cory would not have used similar reasoning, or would he? The reader is left without a distinct answer. In conclusion, the poem "Richard Cory" and the story "Night Mother" are similar outcomes, yet have characters living in different worlds.

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