Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson: Poem Analysis

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Throughout life many people may hear the saying money can't buy happiness over and over again but very few take that into consideration. In the poem “Richard Cory,” the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson reminds his readers of this overused phrase by implying it at the end of the poem. The poem is about a man who lives in a neighborhood that envies his wealth and perfect lifestyle. In the end the protagonist commits suicide leaving the town in shock and awe. The poet uses situational irony and symbolism to reach out to its readers in a different perspective to get the message across. Life tends to throw little unexpected surprises that contradict what many people originally predict. The poet uses situational irony to show what appears to be true and what actually exists in the poem Richard Cory. The townspeople assume Richard Cory has the perfect lifestyle, “richer than a king,” and nothing to worry about while they “went without meat, and cursed the bread.” Little did the townspeople know that Richard Cory was not what they assumed. “On a calm summer night, / [Richard Cory] went home and put a bullet through his head.” The poet did not mention the townspeople's reactions. By ending the poem so abruptly, the poet reached his point across in a shocking and mind whirling way. This is situational irony because the poet misleads the reader to assume, through the townspeople perspective, that wealth is the key to true happiness; while in the protagonist's life it was not. The poet mentions wealth and being materialistic in the poem because that is what many people in the world today yearn for. People envy each other all around the world, sometimes even when they least expect it. Envy can vary from talent to beauty and even money. Children from young ages know that being rich equals more toys and gadgets leading them to pursue a career with a high income, assuming money buys happiness when the majority of the time it does not. Words open up a whole new world of meaning....
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