I need a detailed summary of "Richard Cory", by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Edward Arlington Robinson's poem, "Richard Cory", is the story of a very rich man who appeared to have everything. At least, to the poorer people who "went without the meat, and cursed the bread", it seemed he had everything a person could ever want. The irony is that they really knew nothing about him, and he was so lonely that he killed himself. As far as the people who saw him on the street knew, he lacked for nothing--he "glittered when he walked" because of his fine clothes, and he was "richer than a king". But his wealth isolated him from those same people, and they could not know that he probably envied them for their sense of community and friendships. The poem is written this way; it speaks of "we people on the pavement" who are speaking with each other about Cory. He is no doubt in a very fancy carriage while they walk to get to their destinations. But their lack of money makes it so that they rely on each other, and have good connections with friends. Cory only has wealth, and superficial glitter, so much so that at the end of the poem he "put a bullet through his head."