Edwin Arlington Robinson

Topics: Rhyme, Poetry, Social class Pages: 4 (1196 words) Published: February 5, 2015
Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory” contrasts the discontented, frustrated lives of small town people with the seemingly successful and wealthy existence of their hero, Richard Cory. As the ordinary townspeople compare their daily grind with the glitter of Richard Cory’s world, they envy him. But, as the poem reveals, their envy is foolish. Richard Cory’s final action reveals a different person from the townspeople’s image of him, a person who has been suffering in secret. In “Richard Cory”, the speaker is communicating that outward appearances are not always what they seem, and money is not the key in life and does not always make a person happy. The poem is rich in language use. The poet does not employ many poetic devices, no metaphor, no simile, no symbolism, but still the words have resonance, even though the poem is quite literal. The speaker in the story describes the character, Richard Cory, and the feelings of the townspeople towards him. It would appear that the poem is a narrative since the speaker is talking about Richard Cory and the townspeople as characters and appears to be telling a story about them, however, the term “we” is used throughout the story, referring to the reader. The speaker uses the term “we” as the townspeople to directly connect with the reader, and to compare the town people’s thoughts with the reader’s own thoughts and ideas about life. The poem is more of a lyrical poem, because the speaker evokes feelings from the readers by portraying his or her own feelings through the poem, instead of telling a story. When the speaker says “[s]o on we worked, and waited for the light, / And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;” (Robinson, 13,14), the speaker is comparing the reader to the townspeople in the poem, in that people of today’s world see those who own the most material goods as the richest people. The richest people in life, however, are those who are content with what they have and love life the way it is. The...
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