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

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One is that wealth and power have their attraction to the crowd but tend to alienate the individual. Ask any high profile celebrity, and he or she will tell you it is not that easy to protect one's private life (including maintaining meaningful relationships within a small circle of family and friends) when in the limelight.

Another is that things (or people) are often very different from the way they appear. In this case, a man whom everyone admired, emulated, or was even envious of was not "the success story" he was cracked up to be. Under all the glitter and hype, he was a very frustrated person who couldn't cope with the stress his image and lifestyle demanded of him. The reason he opted for suicide is not stated, but the reader could presume his "success" might have had something to do with it.

Related to the two first messages or themes is another question - what, after all, is really important in life? Complying to society's ideals of perfection and being gratified by that or seeking and finding personal fulfilment by one's own standards instead?

abilustous | Student

Wealth doesnt' bring one happiness. Cory was wealthy when most around him weren't and envied his apparent comfort and humility. Appearances are not always reality. Cory longed for frienship and company but he pretended to be happy and comfortable. Everyone around him were non the wiser. It is ironic that the people on the pavement envied Cory while he was also envying them.

english2328 | Student

I have to do Research Paper on Richard Cory with 8 sources to support the reason why Cory killed himself.  My reason is because he had a relationship with a fairden maid and in the result there was a child out of wed lock.  I could not find any critics that support for the statement.  Can you help me?

Thank you


kmieciakp | Student

One message is that the envious will sustains itself by neglecting the duty to its soul.  Envy shuns the good of reason and validates itself.  It is never wrong.  It does not repent or regret.  Envy idenitifies itself in the negation of the other.  Yet the more Envy turns its despair for another's success and its delight in another's failure into a work of art, the more Envy exposes its self-negating absence--in "Richard Cory," the final suicide is not only Cory's but the narrator's, silenced by his own hand, by the self-negating expression of his envious will.