Richard Cory Poem Analysis

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Irony in poetry is an essential tool wielded by the author. “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Not Waving but Drowning” by Stevie Smith, and “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy, use situational, dramatic, and verbal irony, respectively, to show hidden layers of the poem beneath the literal surface. In “Richard Cory”, the narrator tells the tale of Richard Cory, a man of great wealth and social status. The narrator explains the façade of the wealthy man, who appears cheerful and content with life on the outside, but deprived of true happiness emotionally. The very last line of the poem, “went home and put a bullet in his head”, shocks the reader due to the extremely abrupt and unexpected ending (Robinson line 15). The use of situational is expressed through the last line, when the reader expects the man, who everyone desires to become, to live happily ever after, but suddenly takes his own life. The connotation used to describe Richard is extremely positive, and shows his …show more content…
In the poem, a man drowns in a body of water, most likely the ocean. The people observing the man die believe that he is waving to them because much like Richard Cory, he was always cheerful, when in fact, the man is drowning. Though the reader may interpret “I was much farther out than you thought” as an expression of physical distance, “I was much too far out all my life” reveals the underlying meaning: The man has been emotionally suffering his entire life (Smith lines 3, 11). The poem is symbolic for a problem in society, while people may appear to have an enjoyable time, they drown in cold, haunting emotions while others interpret their cries for help as a joke, or an overstatement. The irony behind “Not Waving but Drowning” broadens the reader’s view of the poem’s deeper meaning, if the irony was not used, the only meaning would come from the literal drowning of a

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