Richard Cory


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,
Clean favored, 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 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 through his head.

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Use these questions to guide you through the poem.

  1. Describe Richard Cory.
  2. How did Richard Cory dress? behave?
  3. How did people react to Richard Cory?
  4. What are the facts told in this poem?
  5. Why is the last line such a surprise?
  6. Why did the poem shock you? Did it?
  7. Why did the towns people envy Richard Cory?
  8. How is a poem different from a news item in a paper?
  9. What is the tone of this poem?
  10. How is irony (of situations) created?
  11. From whose point of view are the facts told?