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Essay on Interpretation of Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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The poem, "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson is the classic pity-the-star story. It has been rumored that some people worshipped by the public eye are just regular people with regular problems, but honestly how big could their problems be? Richard Cory seems to be one of those heart-stopping, rolex-wearing famous people who had a regular problem or two. In scanning the poem line by line, its is easier to uncover meaning.

The first line of the poem suggests that Richard Cory wasn't a common person among the people. "Whenever Richard Cory went down town", suggests that Richard Cory lives uptown, probably in some huge house, maybe by himself, and doesn't make it into town very often. The reader could guess that maybe Richard Cory is very old, a hermit, sickly or unlike the other people in the town. After reading the second line, it becomes clearer that Richard Cory is unusual. Now, being old or sickly probably isn't much of an option, so in some way, Richard Cory is very different from the people.

Different could mean a lot of different things. Upon reading the third and fourth lines, the haze of his character begins to fade and it is easier for the reader to develop a mental image. The third line: "He was a gentleman from sole to crown", is loaded with meaning. By using the word gentleman, the reader can tell that Richard Cory is a person of status, and most likely wealthy. Saying that Richard Cory wears a crown, is stating that he is a king to the people. The next line tells the reader that he is a clean man with a slim body. At this point in the poem, it is easier to develop a mental image of the character.

The next four lines of the poem portray Richard Cory as a prominent public figure, may...


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...that Richard Cory did not put a lot of tears or time into his decision. The reader may envision a slender good-looking man wearing a crown walking into a large house and picking up a gun out of a drawer. Without thought, the man sticks it in his mouth and pulls the trigger. There was no big struggle and no letters to be written, just a "calm" exit.

The poem itself is very interesting and would make anyone think about the meaning. When scanning the poem line by line and trying to pick out metaphors and hidden meanings, the reader can develop ideas and opinions. Most importantly, taking a closer look at words will help the reader to create a mental image. Robinson's portrayal of Richard Cory not only paints a picture of a man, but also clues the reader in on his feelings, leaving just a little bit of mystery that the reader can interpret to their liking.



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