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The poem "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson tells the story of a man's life in sixteen lines. In the second line of the poem, the reader discovers that the narrator is a person who lives in Cory's hometown: "We people on the pavement looked at him..." This observer, an ordinary citizen, describes Cory as gentlemanly, well-educated, and rich, but also human. Unfortunately, the narrator along with the other townspeople, watch Cory from a distance. Consequently, when Cory dies, the reader, ill-prepared for his demise, wonders why did this man of such magnitude commit suicide. The narrator busy with his own life does not recognize the pain that Cory must have suffered. Wishing that they were like Cory, the narrator and the town residents go on about their lives working and waiting for life to improve. Lacking any sign of emotion, the speaker relates the climax of the poem:
And Richard Cory one summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
The narrator waits for the light while Cory rushes to the darkness.
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