Edwin Arlington Robinson

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Harsh Childhood Leads to Pessimistic Writing
A major theme throughout Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poetry is his consistent mentioning of the torture of human life and grave problems that people collide with during their lifetime. This is prevalent in his poems such as _Richard Cory, Miniver Cheevy, Mr. Flood’s Party._ Common issues in his themes include loneliness, problems due to excessive alcoholism, and suicide. Robinson’s grim themes throughout his poetry can be contributed to his harsh lifestyle while growing up. Early on, Edwin’s brother Dr. Dean Robinson suddenly died of a drug overdose. His other brother, Herman Robinson also died later on along with his mother who died of diphtheria. While at Harvard University, his father passed away which forced Edwin to become the male figure around the household. So many deaths in his family before he was even thirty years old, made it difficult for Edwin to live a “normal” life. Edwin continually faced death throughout his younger years which inspired pessimistic attributes to his poetry. Robinson’s Richard Cory presents a solemn theme about a suicide, often believed to be connected with his brother Herman Robinson’s death. Robinson sets up the story by describing the main character, Richard Cory, as a perfect man. “He was a gentleman from sole to crown…And he was rich—yes, richer than a king, And admirably schooled in every grace/ To make us wish that we were in his place.” (Lines 3,9,10,12). Then in the last line of the poem, “Went home and put a bullet through his head.” (Line 16). Robinson uses this short story within a poem to depict how a person who looks like everything is amazing on the outside, can still have serious emotional problems on the inside which could lead to problems such as suicide. A moral that comes out of this poem is, do not judge a book by its cover. Many readers of this poem believe that it is connected with his brother, Herman Robinson because he presents what would be his brother as...
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