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Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

Essay by   •  March 16, 2011  •  Study Guide  •  364 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,578 Views

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"Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

Whenever Richard Cory went down town

We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean-favored and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,

And he was always human when he talked;

But still he fluttered pulses when he said,

"Good Morning!" and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich, yes, richer than a king,

And admirably schooled in every grace:

In fine, we thought that he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked and waited for the light,

And went without the meat and cursed the bread,

And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet in his head.

Questions on "Richard Cory"

1. The poem does not say why Richard Cory killed himself. Why would Edwin Arlington Robinson not want to give the reason why Richard Cory did this? Why would it enhance the poem's effect if we do not know the specific reason why Richard Cory killed himself?

2. Let's assume that the poem gives the reason why Richard Cory killed himself. For example, let's assume the poem states that Richard Cory killed himself because he had health problems or relationship problems or emotional problems. Why would it diminish the poem if we know what kind of problems Richard Cory has?

3. The poem paints a positive portrait of Richard Cory. What are some personal characteristics of Richard Cory that make him a sympathetic, likable person? (Think about personal traits of Richard Cory rather than his wealth.)

4. What if the poem paints a very negative picture of Richard Cory and shows him as an unlikable, unsympathetic person? How would that change your perception of Richard Cory?

5. Line 3 says, "He was a gentleman from sole to crown." What if Edwin Arlington Robinson had written, "foot to head" instead of "sole to crown"? "Foot to head" means the same as "sole to crown." Why is "sole to crown" preferable to "foot to head"?

6. Denotation vs. connotation: The word "crown" denotes "head." What

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