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Richard Cory: Comparing Paul Simon and Edwin Robinson Essay

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Richard Cory poems are a traditional type of poetry found all throughout different time periods. The poems range from the original to song variations, all contributing their own perspectives on what Richard Cory symbolized, and each takes their own distinct form. Richard Cory poetry usual contains the distinct ending of Richard Cory taking his own life, but each poem adds its own variations to this repetitive theme. Throughout the poems, there are also many similar themes, which portray a consistent theme of the American Dream and how it transforms. Many symbolic issues that deal with this dream are related to wealth, which is the most prominent reoccurring theme in the two poems. Whereas Robinson's "Richard Cory" focuses on symbolic issues of wealth during an early time period, Paul Simon creates a contemporary "Richard Cory", showing the transformation of the American Dream coinciding with the passage of time.

In Robinson's poem, it states, "We people on the pavement." This line clearly addresses the issue of social status for Richard Cory; he is set above the common people. The common people are described as being on the pavement, which leads to the visualization of the people being where Richard Cory walks putting them below him. This line also shows the people seem to look up to Cory, almost admiring him. In the Simon poem, however, the people are no long on the pavement, but in Cory's factory. This transition shows the relocation of peasants on the street, into the factories which the wealthy owned. These discrepancies related to the state of the poor, show the poor moving is directly tied to the passage of time into an industrial machine. The rich still own the poor, but no longer in a completely physical sense, m...


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...not be as desirable as thought, the common people still recited, "Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory." This shows that people are less content with their lives, and feel obsessed with this fantasy life known as the American Dream. Even after it is obvious that even someone living the dream was in misery, the people ignore it and still desire.

Both "Richard Cory" poems by Paul Simon and Edwin Robinson reflect the idea of the American Dream, but both in distinct ways. The two poems are different in the ways that societal views have changed through time based on wealth. The image society portrays the American Dream is depicted in the poems by the conversion from royalty to fame. This change of the American Dream is shown through many symbols, but wealth best illustrates how times have changed from the Cory of Robinson's poem, to that of the poem by Paul Simon.


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