List a few good critical thinking questions for the poems "The Earthern Goblet" and "Richard Cory."

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ritonia7 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Richard Cory," by Edward Arlington Robinson:

1. What connections can you make to "glittering" Richard Cory and the simile of him being richer than a king?

2. Why did people envy Richard Cory? Who would be our modern Richard Cory? Do we still envy "him"?

3. How well did the speaker know Richard Cory? What details can you give to support your answer?

4. What does this poem communicate about money and happiness?  

5. How can you apply the expression "don't judge a book by its cover" to this poem?

"The Earthen Goblet," by Harindranath Chattopadhyay:

1. Reflect on the poet's decision to call the goblet "red." How does that align with the goblet's feelings of being twirled upon the wheel?

2. The potter gave the goblet to the world. What Christian allusion is being referenced from a clay creator?

3. The goblet speaks about a friendship with a rooted flower.  What is the pottery referring to? 

4. Why does the goblet prefer its natural unshapely form? What does that say about things that shape and influence us in the world?

huntress eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Richard Cory," by Edward Arlington Robinson: 

  • What is the main message of the poem? 
  • Why do you think Cory committed suicide? 
  • How do you think the townspeople relate to Cory? Are they friends? 
  • How do the townspeople feel about Cory? Consider the complexity of human nature. 
  • What does the narrator mean by "we people on the pavement"? 
  • Did he actually glitter when he walked, or does this merely reflect the townspeople's perception of him? 
  • What does "So on we worked, and waited for the light" mean? 

"The Earthen Goblet," by Harindranath Chattopadhyaya: 

  • Is the poem simply about an earthen goblet?
  • A "conceit" is an extended metaphor that invites us to consider a more sophisticated understanding of a poem. If this poem is a conceit, what is the metaphor and what insights does this invite?
  • Can you think of more than one interpretation of the metaphor? Discuss.  

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