Richard Cory Call The American Dream

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“Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values” (Ayn Rand). This concept of happiness corresponds to Edwin Arlington Robinson’s theme in one of his most popular and well-known poems, “Richard Cory,” in which the achievement of personal values will lead to fulfillment. The poem is a narrative that illustrates how the poor perceived a powerful, wealthy, and well-educated man who unexpectedly committed suicide. In the poem, it is evident that Richard Cory was living what we now often call the American Dream, a desirable lifestyle to the poor people of society. While the definition has changed…show more content…
In the last two lines of the first stanza, the narrator portrays Richard Cory as a man of high social/economic status; he is described as a gentleman. During this time period, “gentlemen” were considered high class men, not just kind and respectful. The phrases “from soul to crown” and “imperially slim” (3-4) depict Richard Cory as royal, defining his fame and power over society. While Richard Cory acts like a normal citizen of society, he is viewed as an authoritative figure because of his wealth and high level of education (9-10), personal attributes that humanity associates with happiness. In society’s eyes, Richard Cory’s fame, fortune, and success were all he needed to live a fulfilled life; therefore, the poor just assumed that Richard Cory was happy when in fact he was not. This suggests that society’s values do not bring satisfaction but rather personal morals and ethics…show more content…
This is made clear in the last two lines of the poem, in which Cory ends his life. As a reader and through the eyes of the poor, we don’t receive the direct reasoning behind Richard Cory’s suicide. The “people on the pavement” (2) perceive Richard Cory to have everything (11); he was living the American Dream. One does not commit suicide if they are genuinely happy with their life, so obviously, Richard Cory was not satisfied with his lifestyle. Lacking personal values, possibly including friends, family, or spiritual purpose, Richard Cory’s life wasn’t fulfilled. Although it is cliché to state that “money can’t buy happiness,” this statement is true in this setting in which Richard Cory had all the money in the world yet was still unsatisfied with his

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