Richard Cory Summary & Analysis by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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"Richard Cory" first appeared in the American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson's 1897 collection, The Children of the Night. In four brisk stanzas, "Richard Cory" tells the story of a wealthy man who often strolls the streets of a poverty-stricken town whose residents all envy his seeming glory. Yet the poem's final line reveals that, despite seeming to have everything he could want, Cory kills himself. The poem's thematic interests in wealth, poverty, and the elusive nature of happiness are deeply tied to its historical context: a series of economic depressions that struck the U. S. in the 1890s.

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