Identify the point of view and the parts of the poem that reveal the point of view. Why is the point of view significant?

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schulzie's profile pic

schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The point of view is from a person living in the town.  Someone who does not know Richard Cory personally.  Someone who admires him from a distance.  He identifies himself as "We people in the town" (l.2)  and it says "we thought that he was everything/ To make us wish we were in his place"  The person is poor and says "we went without meat and cursed the bread" and Richard Cory was rich.  He was admired by those in the lower classes who felt he had everything.The point of view is important because if this were told from Richard Cory's point of view, he would not have been so deeply admired by those around him. His life would not have been perfect.  He obviously did not have the perfect life since he found it necessary to take his life with a bullet. 

boatagainstcurrent's profile pic

boatagainstcurrent | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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The point of view is first person from the perspective of the people who live in the same town as Richard Cory. The point of view is revealed starting in the second line of the poem:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town, 
We people on the pavement looked at him ... (1-2)
The people of the town live a life quite different from Richard Cory in that they struggle to make ends meet, and they admire his wealth and assumed success, but from a distance. Having the speaker as a plural "we" highlights Cory's lack of connection with the town. The people class themselves off from Cory (they're on "the pavement," while Cory "glittered"), and the poem gives the impression that Cory does not have a personal connection or a friend in town. The people simply look at him and admire and envy his pristine appearance.
The distance between Cory and the townspeople is further revealed in the third stanza when the speaker reports:
... we thought that he was everything 
To make us wish that we were in his place. (11-12)
It is perhaps in part this impersonal relationship with the town-- this disconnect-- that leads Cory to "put a bullet through his head," even as the townspeople labor and wish they had a life like his. No one knows the inner life of Cory, a life that has clearly been troubled; all they know is of his material wealth and his difference from them.

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