Kamis, 05 Februari 2009

Richard Cory

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean-favoured 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.

(Edwin Arlington Robinson)

Analysis of Richard Cory

Before we discuss about this poem from certain aspect, let we see several common elements that arrange it. First is about the rhyme. We know rhyme is the repetition that occurs in poem in order to create sound musical that affect to the aesthetical aspect of the poem it self, and in The Elements of Writing about Literature and Film book, it is define as ‘repeating similar sounds in an effective scheme.’ If we relate about this definition and the poem above we find this poem consists of true rhyme or it also called perfect rhyme. True or perfect rhyme occurs when the first consonants change, but the following consonants or vowels stay the same (How to Interpret Poetry by Laurie E. Rozakis). Let we see the poem above, its rhyme is abab. Next is about the figurative language. Figurative language is used by the poem to deliver his idea because one word can interpret to more than one meaning. Most of the figurative language that used in the poem above use metaphors, such as ‘He was a gentleman from sole to crown (line 3), And he was always human when he talked (line 5), And he was rich, yes, richer than a king (line 9)’. However, we can find other figurative language in that, such as personification ‘And Richard Cory, one calm summer night (line 14) and many more. Then we move to another discussion.

When we relate this poetry to the analysis of social classes in our society; we will find clear distinction between Richard Cory and the community around him. In this poem, the poet takes position as the lower class. He explains about a rich man named Richard Cory who always admired by every people in the town. In here, Robinson describes how Richard adored. Let us see in the first line of this poem, ‘Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him’.

The poet still gives detail about him in next stanza; even he said that ‘…he was rich, yes, richer than a king.’ Nevertheless, Robinson gives different tone in the last one. The poet in the last stanza, serve about the end life of the character in this poem. It is not only a comparison to the previous lines but also the continuation of the story that poet tries to build. Cory who admire by other people cannot find a reason to admire him self. ‘And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet in his head.’
As we know, a person in this poem is a ‘true gentleman’, who was “quietly arrayed” and “always human when he talked.” He never publicly displayed his wealth and believed even the poorest man deserved his politeness and respect. He comes from the upper class, the class that dreamed by other people. ‘To make us wish that we were in his place.’ He also can attack people’s interest because ‘…we thought that he was everything’. The poet not only state directly about it but he also uses connotation. In line three ‘crown’ does not mean authority or power but it means head and ‘imperially slim’ has meaning Richard Cory has a masculine shape of king.

As I explain before, in this poem we can see the distinction of social classes in society. Robinson presents two classes in his work, common people as the lower class and Richard Cory as the representative of the upper class. Robinson state that the lower class people forever dream to be the upper class. In the other hand, he clarify that people from the upper class not always get everything in this life. Even I invent another meaning from Robinson’s work that people from the lower class luckier than the upper one. The classes in our society may have influence for our life but it depends on how we adopt a position to face it. Back to the poem above, the poet serve three stanza to present ‘people in down town’ opinion about Richard Cory. They admire him in every single thing that Cory has. His performing, attitude, riches, position is dreamed by everyone there. But, Robinson quite competent to build Cory’s character. The character that amazed by everyone not the one who arrogant because he have everything. If we look out over this poem, we may find that Robinson tries to serve about social injustice in modern life. I interpret this more as the moral value. The poet builds perfect condition that similar to our life. My first interpretation comes from people from lower class in that poem. Nowadays, people in our society think that being rich is a very lucky destiny. We may see it not only from the poem above but also in the reality. Then my second understanding comes from Richard Cory it self. He is regarded as a king even more than a king. It is another reflection of ‘unlucky society’s opinions face this life. People still consider wealth, power, and high-position as a fortune. We never notice that we still can be happy even when we have no everything like Richard Cory has and Robinson proof it in his work.

Then, when I state that a rich is not a guarantee for happy life, we may find that it is true. Imagine this, a wealthy man who is idolized by those who consider themselves less fortunate, commits suicide. A person from a certain social class like Richard Cory must have perfect reason to do this such as act. I interpret it that he depress to the situation of his life, because sometimes we do not realize that such as person have big problem than his wealth. We keep admire riches is a key in this life. Everything can buy with money because riches are the greatest power in this world that able to control everything. We are nothing without wealth; we are nothing without high-position.
Thus, I can conclude that in his work, Robinson tries to comment on the fundamental aspect in our life. He reflects it to the poem, which has moral value and teaches us that rich is not guarantee for joyful. He develops Richard Cory’s life in order to change reader’s mind about standard of happiness.


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