Getting Nitty-Gritty With Richard Cory

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Sarah Crumpler Instructor Laird ENGL 1302-1000 30 September 2009 Getting Nitty-Gritty with Richard Cory In the poem “Richard Cory”, Edwin Arlington Robinson writes about a man that seemed to have all desirable possessions one would want. The man’s name was Richard Cory. One could put together that the townspeople saw Cory to be a handsome, wealthy, and very well read gentleman. Similarly, X. J. Kennedy describes Cory as a “rich and high-born loser” (2). Everyone seemed to look up at him in awe. Even though this man seemed to have it all, perhaps he was missing something. Richard Cory, “shot and killed himself one calm summer night” (Robinson 15). There are many different literary devices that poets can use to develop a poem. While reading through “Richard Cory”, one could recognize the four elements Robinson use’s to develop his poem which are: voice, diction, imagery, and theme. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the poem is voice. The speakers tone is admiring Cory’s life with a hint of envy. Louise Dauner believes “Cory had everything to excite the envy of the ‘people on the sidewalk’” (8). Robinson uses middle diction in this poem, which maintains correct language use, but it is less lofty than formal diction; it imitates the way most educated people speak. The use of the pronoun “we” indicates the townspeople as the speakers. For example, “We people on the pavement looked at him”, “we thought that he was everything”, and “wish that we were in his place” (Robinson 2, 11, 12). These people admired Cory because of his possessions and his desirable traits. In this poem Cory was considered to be vastly greater than the people of

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