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Gatsby vs. Richard Cory

By samrose1215 Feb 21, 2010 511 Words
The saying “do not judge a book by its cover” is true because appearances can often be deceiving. A person can easily act calm, cool, and collected, but in reality feel like their world is falling apart. In both the poem “Richard Cory” and the book The Great Gatsby, Richard Cory and Gatsby both appear to be well put together gentlemen with an ideal lifestyle. However taking a look below the surface it’s easy to see that this is only a clever façade to mask their true feelings.

In both works irony is the main literary element which proves that appearances can be deceiving. Gatsby lived a luxurious lifestyle and his parties were the envy of everyone. People who didn’t even know him would make desperate attempts to receive an invitation to these extravagant parties. However what no one knew was the reason behind the festivities. Gatsby’s true purpose in life was to win the love of Daisy. He worked hard to attain his wealth through corrupt practices and eventually received a status worthy of recognition. After finally realizing all of this still wasn’t enough it was inevitable for him to die like his dream. Gatsby had to die because he had no reason left to live. It is ironic that this man who had achieved so much so quickly had no purpose left in life.

Richard Cory’s story is similar to that of Gatsby. He was a high society man and the envy of many of the townspeople. He is characterized in a way that makes him appear to be almost god-like. He “glittered when he walked” and yet when he spoke he seemed humble and genuine. He was “richer than a king” and “schooled in every grace.” He was the man everyone knew and wished they could be. The way he presented himself to the town was obviously quite different from his true feelings because his fate was sealed after he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. It is ironic that the man everyone wanted to be was unhappy enough to commit suicide. He presented himself in such a manner that o one would have even suspected the depression he was masking so well.

A façade is hard to spot because a person can so easily hide their true feelings. Gatsby and Richard Cory both appeared to have it all: wealth, a good reputation, and the admiration of many. They were both incredibly flawed men beneath the surface however. Gatsby had one dream in life and when he realized it was a dream that could never become a reality he had noting left to live for. Richard Cory, although we don’t know exactly what, faced a severe problem in his life that caused him such distress that he felt the only way to end his problem was to end his life. Although we may think we know a person we could be completely wrong. They could even be experiencing emotions no one could possibly know or understand.

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