Homework Help

What is the theme of the poem "Richard Cory"?

user profile pic

nickisherh | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 10, 2009 at 4:46 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the theme of the poem "Richard Cory"?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Two themes are developed through the poem's ironic ending. Although Richard Cory enjoyed wealth and social position and was much envied by the working poor, he is the one who commits suicide, as we learn in the poem's last surprising line. The public perception of Cory when contrasted with his suicide develops several themes. All of his wealth and privilege did not bring Cory happiness. Apparently more is required to lead a meaningful life. Also, appearances are deceiving. Those who watched Cory, a man who "glittered" in their eyes, assumed he enjoyed a perfect life. They had no idea that his life was so empty and unbearable. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes