Reflective Analysis of the Poem ‘Richard Cory’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson: Critical Essay

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Growing up, everyone wanted to become like Ricky, many people asked themselves what doesn't he have? Quickly becoming the best-scouted player in the nation for his abilities to play football, which led to his receiving full-ride scholarships. Having both parents, a spacious house, and his own car, from the outside Ricky, was perfect. Until the morning of Christmas Eve, when his parents went to go wake him up an unspeakable tragedy struck. What one produces outside can be completely different from what is inside. The poem ‘Richard Cory’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson emphasizes that Richard's outstanding reputation and wealth cannot always convert to a joyful ending.

Richard Cory seemed to have everything and possessed a presence that the townspeople looked up to when he walked. We all encounter someone who reminds us of Richard, whether a friend or family member, I know a Richard in my life. For instance, “Whenever Richard Cory went downtown, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (Lines 1-3). The text of the poem places an image in my head and makes me want to be like Richard, who wouldn't? I can relate to Richard from the perspective of the townspeople and being in his shoes as well. In high school, my closest friend had that awe when he walked and a great reputation, but after deep talks, he was suffering from depression. He would never display it because of his great smile and everyone thought he was fine. We all have a Richard in ourselves, we present a smile and show nothing is bothering us, but inside there is.

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On top of Richard’s outstanding reputation, he was very wealthy. Exactly how wealthy? “And he was rich- yes, richer than a king” (Line 9). I honestly believe the poem is describing the perfect person, having everything others desire. Unquestionably, one would think nothing is improper with Richard as things are going great for him at this time. Also, I was shocked by what was revealed in the last two lines of the poem. Tragedy hit, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head” (Lines 15-16). It caught me off guard because I projected this image in my head of this golden boy who expressed no worries, no money problems, and was likable. Some keywords I have been stating have been ‘I believe and I think’, those remain words I would say before ‘he is fine’ and what others would say after interpreting this poem.

Ricky’s parents walked into the room and recovered Ricky laying on the floor holding pills; he overdosed on purpose. We think that we shouldn't express our emotions and be tough, but it can severely harm us. Ricky and Richard are similar, if you take out the endings of their story, people would glance over because, by the looks of it, their lives are perfect. We also form this picture and assumption of who people are by their reputation and appearance. Moreover, no amount of money can purchase every stratification in life that you need to be happy. Furthermore, I thought by saving up and receiving the clothes I wanted I would be fulfilled, but after a few days, I lost the sensation of them. Now imagine having a perfect reputation, a vast amount of riches but you felt incomplete, how would you feel?

Work Cited

  1. Arlington Robinson, Edwin. “Richard Cory”. The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, shorter 13th ed., W. W. Norton, 2019, pp. 735.
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Reflective Analysis of the Poem ‘Richard Cory’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson: Critical Essay. (2023, October 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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