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“Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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The poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson is a tone rollercoaster. The tone changes throughout the poem. The poem goes from happiness, to envious, ending in depression. The author successfully uses different tones to keep the readers attention and realistically tell a story that can be identified with today’s society.

The author uses happiness to draw in the reader’s attention and to keep the reader happy as if he or she was actually there. The author describes Richard Cory in a manor that makes the reader feel like he or she is happy to see Richard walking down the street. The author states:

Whenever Richard Cory went down the town,

We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored, and imperially slim. (Robinson 1-4)

The author also starts off by giving Richard Cory the characteristics of a happy person instead of a person that was gloomy. The author states:

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. (Robinson 5-8)

LaRue 2

The author does successfully uses the tone of happiness to start off the
first two paragraphs of the poem.

The second tone used by the author is envious. The author changes the tome from happiness to envious to keep the readers attention. The author makes the reader envy Richard Cory by giving him to envious traits wealth and intelligence. The author writes:

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. (Robinson 9-12)

This is true with today’s society everyone wants what he or she doesn’t have and to be who he or she isn’t.

The final tone used by the author is depression. This is the most drastic and unexpected change in tone throughout the poem. The author states, “And so we worked, and waited for the light, and went without the meat and cursed the bread”(Robinson 13-14). This makes the reader depressed for realizing all the sacrifices one makes to get a head in life. Then the most depressing part of the poem is when the author states, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.” Everyone liked what Richard Cory had on the outside but they never knew what he felt on the inside.

In conclusion, even though the author takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster he keeps the readers attention throughout the poem with his different uses of tone. The three different types of tones the author uses accurately portray how regular society feels toward celebrities. The truth is everyone has problems and even if not financially than some sort of other problem.

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