Richard Cory

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People either idealize or resent the upper echelon of society. The song despises the upper class but still thinks the grass is greener on the other side and the other shows him in a more positive light. The song focuses on the miscreant behavior, and the poem talks about idealizing his image. The biggest difference is the view of the upper class the poem holds him in reverence and the song curses him, but both the song and the poem wish for what he had.

The poem Richard Cory by Edward Arlington Robinson and the Paul Simon song of the same name share many attributes. The theme is the same: in both the song and the poem, the title character is somewhat aloof and distant from the rest of society due to his wealth and position. I think Paul Simon was interested in the mystery: the question of exactly why he might kill himself given that he appears to be living a charmed life. In the poem, the first two stanzas focus on Richard Cory but not so much on how he is perceived. The description of him is almost factual, e.g. “he was a gentleman from sole to crown, clean-favoured and imperially slim.” Even though there’s a positive perception of him, the author doesn’t bring up the issues of envy or jealousy until the end of the third stanza “we thought that he was everything / To make us wish that we were in his place. “ However, in contrast, the Paul Simon song introduces the idea of envy earlier. He brings in a first person singular narrator who is envies Cory’s position. The contrast between the two is even greater because the narrator works in his factory. He also emphasizes the poverty of the factory workers earlier. In the Arlington poem, that’s given in just one line (“went without the meat and cursed the bread”). In the Paul Simon Song, Cory is larger-than-life. He’s not just one of many rich people, he’s obviously the richest person. The details of his parties, patronage, and connections are given. In contrast, the Arlington poem is shows Cory as being more...
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