Richard Cory

Richard Cory's Illusion of Divinity College

It is a common notion for people to believe other people tend to have better lives than their own. Regardless of the situation, people will compare the worst part of their own life to the best parts of other peoples’ lives, creating a wider disparity than what exists. Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory” narrates a scenario portraying the cliché notion that just because someone’s life appears ideal, does not mean it is. This idea is emphasized in almost every line of the poem and strengthened through subtle and obvious contrast, which is what stuck out most to me—how excessive the contrast is between the people and Richard Cory.

The first stanza introduces the character Richard Cory, and it immediately gives him an aura of grandeur. The first of many contrasting descriptions in this poem is between the “people on the pavement” and the poem’s subject being a “gentleman from sole to crown”. He is noble through and through without a single trace of anything less in him according to the description. Even the diction elevates his status. Using the word “crown” instead of “head” creates an image of royalty, widening the gap between him and the general population. The following line reinforces this by describing his slimness as...

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