While reading the poems “Richard Cory” and “Ezra Farmer”, it is almost immediately evident which poem is an original and which is a parody. Both poems are clearly about men that are popular among those he meets, but once the reader looks beneath the surface, they notice how the diction plays an important role in relaying the theme to the audience it is presented to. In the poem “Richard Cory” written by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the theme being portrayed is that people are not always as how they seem.
In the first stanzas of each poem the differences are subtle yet noticeable. Robinson chooses to use the phrase “went down town” while the parody says “chose to go”. The differences in diction here show how Richard Cory goes out to do daily things while Ezra Farmer goes out to be noticed. The following line is the exact same except Robinson says “pavement” unlike “sidewalk” in the parody. This subtle change could hint towards the differences in social classes between the men, or in the way they carry themselves, given that sidewalk tends to be higher up than pavement in physical means. In the third line, the parody changes “from sole to crown” to “from heel to toe”. Robinson’s use of “from sole to crown” implies that Richard Cory is a wholesome man from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head; whereas the parody says “heel to toe” which has the reader thinking about Ezra Farmers shoes. While comparing the size of a shoe to the amount of wholesomeness a person is doesn’t amount to much. The last line of “Richard Cory” ends with “clean favored and imperially slim”. This choice of particular diction gives the reader an image a man who stands out as more appealing than the average person. Mean while, the parody ends in “clean-cut, good-looking, slim”; though this description depicts Ezra Farmer as an attractive man, that is all he is portrayed to be.
The second stanzas of both works have differences as well that begin with the