These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by R A Williams
Richard Cory is a man the narrator knows, but does not know well. The narrator's description of Cory focuses on his appearance, his mannerisms, and repeated references to his socioeconomic class, which is far above the narrator's.
Richard Cory is a man who attracts attention and who cannot help but give off an image of privilege. A "gentleman from sole to crown", Cory is described as "clean-favored", which means clean-cut and reasonably good-looking. He is not just slim, but "imperially" slim. His appearance and posture, therefore, suggest rank and nobility even though he didn't go out of his way to do so.
The narrator described Cory as "quietly arrayed", that is to say dressed in a manner not calculated to attract attention. But he attracts attention nonetheless. He could make people's pulses flutter just by greeting them, and when he walked he gave an impression of glittering. This is a man who looks rich in spite of himself. He is acknowledged as being "human" when he spoke to people, yet the people to whom he speaks think of him as being on another level.
The narrator acknowledges that Cory is wealthy and indicates that he has been "schooled" or taught every type of manners. Overall, the narrator and others (the narrator uses the word "we") envied Cory, who led what appeared to be a life free of care and worry.
Nothing about the narrative voice suggests an age or gender, but the narrator uses the word "we" to describe the other people in the town. The narrator is speaking on behalf of the collective throughout the poem.
That the narrator and other townspeople are poor is evident from the fact that they envy Cory and wish they were in his place. They are described as waiting for some kind of good luck, "light", or salvation and meanwhile going without luxuries such as meat. Furthermore, they are unsatisfied with what they have: they curse "the bread".
Update this section!
You can help us out by revising, improving and updating
One of the themes includes the idea that people go to great lengths to project a happy life while hiding internal pain. Richard Cory in not unlike many people today who try to project a "perfect life" on social media, like Facebook, but are...
This is really asking for your opinion rather than mind. You might want to consider that Richard Cory really and truly had it all. Which makes the fact that one day he decided to head home and shoot himself in the head all the more...