Edwin Arlington Robinson

(22 December 1869 – 6 April 1935 / Maine / United States)

Richard Cory - Poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
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Comments about Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson

  • Rookie James Chase (11/24/2012 10:49:00 PM)

    I find myself relating to this poem a lot recently. I agree with the usually disagreed with interpretation that Richard Cory *might* have been gay. I think the overall idea, however, is that money doesn't buy happiness and that people can be exceptionally skillful in hiding how they truly feel. I am in the top 5% of earners in the US, and I consider myself depressed. I'm gay and alone. While I don't see myself committing suicide, that doesn't mean I'm not miserable. No amount of money can fix that. (Report) Reply

    70 person liked.
    36 person did not like.
  • Rookie Joy Williams (10/25/2012 7:35:00 PM)

    We read this poem together in my English class today. When we got to the last line, everyone in the class was in shock. Everyone, that is, but me. I felt it coming. I identify with Richard Cory... Always pretending to be okay, and everyone believing that he could not be anything otherwise... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Caroline Bulleck (10/1/2012 11:31:00 PM)

    It is so depressing, but i absolutely love it (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 13 Points Richard Stevens (8/16/2012 6:02:00 AM)

    To me, it's simply the most beautiful poem there is. About a year ago, I didn't like poetry at all, I was way more into prose. However, with Robinson's poetry, this changed. His poetry is so readable and in this poem it's especially the last line impact that appeals to me. I remember reading it for the first time and being quite in shock when the poem came to an end. I love it how [the] people on the pavement admire him, I mean, how could they not admire him? The way Robinson describes him is absolutely amazing and I think he's simply the American Dream incarnate, which is also beautifully represented by the light everybody's waiting for.
    Moreover, it's mainly line 6-7 which I find interesting. The fact that he always sp[o]k[e] human when he talked might indicate that although he's obviously higher in social rank than the other inhabitants of the town, he doesn't mind talking to practically everyone in his town, no matter what social class they find themselves in. The expression that follows in line 7 still touches me when I read it, that is to flutter pulses. I myself am not native English speaker but I found out that this is not a universally acknowledged English expression, yet it is one that affects me deeply. Imagining that your pulse increases when you see someone you're impressed by is real nice, if you ask me. Also, I haven't managed to find this expression in any dictionary so I assume this saying has been invented by Robinson himself. I've recently decided to tattoo But still he fluttered pulses on my wrist (on the very place where you can feel your pulse) , since I admire the character very much and I'm happy to have the same name (Richard) as a admirable person as Richard Cory. When I was a kid, I didn't like my name one bit, but after reading this poem, I must say I'm super proud having a name partner like this (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Muhammad Moneib (6/30/2012 11:43:00 AM)

    I love this poem. It just describes a very simple truth about life, and that is not to judge by appearances, and to be thankful of what you already have. It describes it in the most artistic ways by painting an interesting picture of that guy, Richard Cory, whom you'll feel like wishing you were in his place by reading the lines of the poem, just to be surprised by an unexpected twist in the end that is sure to demolish the pretty picture you should have had of this guy. The poem succeeds in making you think and reread and reflect. A masterpiece done by a masterful poet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Freckman (5/22/2012 10:29:00 AM)

    I think this is about the faces we all construct to look acceptable to society. The 'less fortunate' people (not as rich) - could not fathom the idea that Richard Cory could be so troubled, and he could not, for the sake of his position in Society, show anything but the refined grace. (Notice that there was no mention of his smile or being happy - only that he appeared to be successful.) And the play ends tragically - Richard Cory is dead and the onlookers can't understand why, (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 4 Points Ray Schreiber (2/18/2012 8:32:00 PM)

    This wonderful poem seems to be less about Richard Cory than it is about those who watched, admired and were mystified by his unexpected exit. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 342 Points Manonton Dalan (2/18/2012 2:47:00 PM)

    richard cory (rich ar do cry) (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,804 Points Paul Brookes (2/18/2012 4:35:00 AM)

    Maybe the guy's saying here is a person we all envied who had everything except love and peace of mind and that money canit buy happiness and finding life empty felt he had nothing to live for even if he had everything material. As a poem I find it scans awkwardly and jars but its sentiments are good. No actual satistical proof that gays are more likely to commit suiside. Another myth explodes I hope! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ruthie Bode (1/5/2012 2:33:00 AM)

    Perhaps Richard Cory was gay and closeted. After all, gay people are much more likely to commit suicide than straight people. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mike Zvirblis (8/4/2010 12:14:00 PM)

    I always felt Richard Cory had a physical problem. People see too much in this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie M Erecke (4/6/2010 2:44:00 PM)

    Richard Corey is a poem of the narcissist. Caught in a double-bind in which he must present with exaggerated dignity and mastery in order to feel adequate, and having so sold himself, can never allow himself to be truly known for the inferior he secretly feels himself to be.
    His ability to mimic the superior status he must maintain in order to feel justified results from his having sold it to himself almost completely-the better convince others... but at the expense of his true emotions, which are toxic with shame, and which he began repressing so long ago in order to receive the success he hoped would prove them wrong, that he has on most levels forgotten that long-past decision, become willfully ignorant of his corrosive interior life, and become doomed to a treadmill which he has slowly realized is not only leading nowhere, but which ensures through its repeated success that he will become less able to free himself from emotional torture, and self-actualize through self-expression, as his continued upward socioeconomic trajectory only makes it more impossible that his 'weakness' might be acceptable in the eyes of those who have grown to admire him.
    Rather than ruin the false self he's created, and end up a despised imposter in the eyes of those whose admiration has become his one small solace, he opts for a last stroke of honesty-his admission of abject helplessness..and through suicide ensures that he will not remain to face the jeers of the admirers who have placed him on a pedestal, secretly hoping to see him fall.
    He reduces the gulf between his emotional self and public self with one fell-swoop-anhilating both in what seems the only possible means of resolving the no longer tolerable stresses of subterfuge in the face of a problem only growing, rather than receding, at his lifelong efforts. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Elliot F. Nieves (3/31/2010 4:37:00 PM)

    Richard Cory's major flaw as a character will never be known, except to himself. The reader can assign him whatever flaw he or she wishes, but it will always be after the fact of his killing himself at the end of the poem. To the reader, Richard Cory didn't have any visible or conceivable flaws, until he shockingly kills himself.
    Well, he became sort of a legend, as the poem goes, by taking his own life, and not that of any of his ogleing, fellow humans. In another discussion of this poem during my college years, it was suggested that Richard Cory was a pimp! How about that! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Loves (2/18/2010 11:56:00 PM)

    he can't commit suicide! he has child support to pay! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Yacov Mitchenko (2/18/2010 11:01:00 PM)

    This is well done, the sort of writing aspiring poets should study. Notice the clean-cut statements, the precision, concision, the utter lack of cliche. The message of the poem is clear: as happy and contented as one appears to be, the fact may be otherwise. I think one of the readers here who took issue with it, claiming it indulges in bashing people of high intellectual and social stature, misses the point. He reads too much into it. It's a simple poem relating a common situation. It talks about the rich often being secretly miserable, but it in no way suggests that the poor do not have their own masks.

    I give this poem a 9, which says a lot. Typically, I don't rate poems on this site, as that might cause a great deal of resentment among amateurs. The fact is that a poem worthy of a 9, much less a 10, is about 1 in a 1000 - at least. The reason this poem doesn't get a 10 is not because of technique or grace in expression, but because it isn't sufficiently fecund. It lacks a necessary ambiguity, which would allow for multiple interpretations. The poem is just too clear for its own good, and a touch too simple. Still, I enjoy reading and re-reading it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 9 Points Herman Chiu (2/18/2010 10:31:00 PM)

    What an excellent poem! There is evidence of a statement of great misconception among those that 'wish to be in his place'. The statement is unusually strong for a poem of its type, and the structure works well with the description of this Richard Cory. 'Blame it on the Girls', by Mika, carries a similar theme. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (2/18/2010 3:45:00 PM)

    It's too bad that some of us on this site confuse Edwin Arlington Robinson with the poet from Illinois who wrote the verse epitaphs that he entitled SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY - Edgar Lee Masters! And the resident expert on this site who does NOT understand that 'quietly arrayed' suggests the kind of discreet and expensive tailor-made suits Cory wore that denoted his good taste in clothing. No sweatpants and gym shoes for Mr Cory! And how in the world does the phrase 'he glittered when he walked' imply the staggering gait of an alcoholic in his rambles about the town! Why must Cory's interior be so disheveled, as one writer notes? Perhaps he simply went home one calm summer night and executed the deed as calmly as he had lived his life. Readers who make comments like that resemble those in town who 'worked and waited for the light'! The hoi polloi, those who long for an equality that exists only in the socialist dreams that Straw alluded to! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Shanice John (2/18/2010 2:56:00 PM)

    I remember my first timE reading this poem and i thought it was boring until i reached the end.E.A.Robinson made the poem seem predictable as he kept talking positively about Richard Cory making readers expect that the poem would end on on a positive note but it didn't.Readers are deceived by the poem's outcome as well as by Richard Cory.What a clever way to highlight the the theme of deceit. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Fetzer (2/18/2010 12:11:00 PM)

    I love these named poems from E.A. Robinson that were inspired by tombstones. (This is just one of a set) . They are great interesting little reads often with a dark twist. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Aaliyah Islaam (2/18/2010 6:10:00 AM)

    I actually think this poem is really good. It really shows how people percieve others and how we percieve ourselves.

    And how some people may seem fine on the outside but we cannot see what is within. This man Richard Cory needed some help, but nobody saw that they just saw the outside.

    It's a sad poem, but it happens every day. (Report) Reply










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