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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Edwin Arlington Robinson - "Richard Cory" and "Miniver Cheevy"

In Edwin Arlington Robinson's two poems, here, entitled "Richard Cory" and "Miniver Cheevy," there is a simple story of chasing the perfect dream. Each individual has his own idea of what their American Dream is, but each one also finds it impossible to achieve. In "Richard Cory," the character, presumably Richard Cory himself, is described as a well-off man of perfect stature and whom everyone else wants to be (Robinson, "Richard Cory," 575). His life is oh so wonderful because he is the perfect gentleman and a noble citizen of the community who is envied by all for his grace, elegance, charm, and vast riches, to boot (Robinson, "Richard Cory," 575). Unfortunately, Richard Cory was apparently unhappy with his life because, on one summer night, he went back to his house and shot himself (Robinson, "Richard Cory," 575). Here, Realism is harsh. This poor man finds all of what the American Dream has to offer, but he does not want it; he does not want the attention of the whole town. His life was meant to be regular, so he was very unhappy with it. Realism is characterized in this piece because Cory is described so bluntly. The same story happens in "Miniver Cheevy." Cheevy is imagining all sorts of different and fantastic places and people he could be. He dreams of being a knight in Camelot, being a member of the Italian Medici, the time of the valiant warrior, and the art of the Romance (Robinson, "Miniver Cheevy," 576). All of these magical instances are of beauty and amazement, but they are all only in his dreams. When his fantasies sound just so perfect, he comes back to reality, drinking alone in a bar (Robinson, "Miniver Cheevy," 576). Problems with society are present in both of these stories because the other people, whether in the town or in dreams, push each character into the ending of both stories. Cory commits suicide because of the envy the townspeople have over him, and Cheevy can only dream of the places he could be because society has dropped him off at the bar, probably leaving him no money source or anything else to do all day. Once again, religion and government have nothing to do with either of these poems from Robinson. Nature is unimportant, also, even though it touches it briefly in "Richard Cory." Human nature, however, is important in both stories. Richard Cheevy is driven to the point of madness because of the suppressing atmosphere in which he lives. He is admired by so many people because of the things he had, but he does not like it or want it to continue; in general, huaman nature is difficult to describe in "Richard Cory." However, it is certainly natural to dream of the best possibilities, even while knowing they would be impossible, like Miniver Cheevy does. His daydreams are only the cause of alcoholic sorrows, but it is always nice to put yourself in the shoes of someone who you would love to be. Finally, the Hero could only be death for both people. In Cory's case, the Hero comes to "save" his life, but Cheevy's Hero could only end his life. In the "afterlife," it could be said that Cheevy's spirit would search the world for the perfect resting place, never to find it, but keeping him held out of drinking and longing for the chance to search.


Works Cited

Robinson, Edwin Arlington. "Miniver Cheevy." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 576. Print.

Robinson, Edwin Arlington. "Richard Cory." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 575. Print.

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