Edwin Arlington Robinson's poem, "Richard Cory" recalls the findings of recent studies that have revealed that people who have won millions of dollars in lotteries have said after a year or more that they almost wish that they had not won the money. For, even though they tried to retain their old friendships, they grew apart from them because they had purchased a new, more luxurious home, bought a new, elegant or sporty car, and no longer worked with some of the friends. Suddenly, they and their friends were on different levels.
Such is the case with Richard Cory; even though he is "human when he talked," he
...fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good morning," and he glittered when he walked.
Richard Cory speaks and would like to communicate with people, but his wealth creates an alienation as the "people on the pavement" perceive him as one above them--not someone with whom they would converse. Cory is like a king whom they admire rather than one with whom they would associate because he is a "gentleman from sole to crown" and "imperially slim."
Aware of the social and economic distance among them, the people of Robinson's poem are like the friends of the lottery winners; they are uncomfortable socializing with one whom they "wish that we were in his place."
Like the "poor,little rich girl," Gloria Vanderbilt, whose wealth prohibited her from having meaningful relationships as so many men merely wanted her money, Richard Cory is desperately lonely, a condition exacerbated by his wealth. This is the "hollowness and emptiness" of which akannan above writes. Cory's life, devoid of socialization, is a desperately lonely one, so lonely that he kills himself out of despair.