Richard Cory and God's Work

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People can suffer in silence and suddenly they either shock us by doing something drastic or they emerge as heroes who win our admiration.”

a) Briefly outline what happens in “Richard Cory” and “God’s Work”.

Richard Cory, the subject of the poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is a man who is highly favored in his community. The working class citizens, one of which is the narrator of the poem, are always admiring his sophistication and his regal attitude. They also have high regards for his humanity, wealth as well as his status in education. The people think that Richard Cory is everything; they begin to cut back on the things they do in hope to achieve a similar lifestyle to the one that Richard Cory lives. However, without any identified reason, Richard kills himself, bringing surprise to the ones who admire him together with the reader. In the poem “God’s Work” by Ian McDonald, death also occurs, however, being of a different state to that of “Richard Cory”. The poet respects the main character, Mister Edwards, who is his gardener, handyman and a good friend. Mister Edwards is a strong man, both physically and mentally, and a handsome man too. However, he is ill and is experiencing the factors of death. Although Mister Edwards suffers a slow and excruciating death, he shows his great appreciation for the things he experiences. He believes that whatever happens, whether it may be pleasing or dissatisfying, it is God’s work and it happens for a reason. Coming on to the end of the poem, the poet describes the pain that Mister Edwards endures, and how many people believe that he has a strong heart. Finally, he dies, and the persona cynically cries out “God’s Work”.

b) How does the statement above apply to each poem?

After reading the poems “Richard Cory” and “God’s Work,” it is clearly recognized that the statement is applied in both poems. In the poems, the two main characters suffer silently, however, in...
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