Who do you think is the narrator of this poem?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of Edwin Arlington Robinson's poem "Richard Cory" is one of the people who lives in the same town as Cory but someone who is of a lower socioeconomic class than he. It seems evident the narrator is an adult male. The perspective of the narrator seems to be one of envy, but not one of ever being eligible to be romantically involved with Cory. When the narrator says Cory "fluttered pulses," it seems a bit detached. One envisions the ladies' hearts beating faster when they see him, probably not the men's. So since the narrator doesn't say "our pulses fluttered when he passed," it seems likely the narrator is male. The narrator also says Cory had everything to make "us" wish that we were in his place. A man would want to have the place of Cory, where a woman (especially in that time period) might daydream about marrying into that station by attracting Cory's love.

It's clear that the narrator lives in poverty because he "went without the meat and cursed the bread," meaning he is too poor to buy better food. It's likely that he works in an unskilled trade, perhaps in a mill or factory. He groups himself in with "we people on the pavement," meaning that he was one of the mass of regular people who lived in the town who did not enjoy any special status. The narrator's age is probably similar to Richard Cory's since he does not call out Cory as being older or younger than himself. My guess is that both may have been in their thirties--in the prime of life.