November 8, 2004

Mr. Richard Corey

The ready availability of suicide, like sex and alcohol, is one of life's basic consolations.
Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

It may seem weird, but I think that one of the reasons that suicidal people are able to keep going is because they breath a sigh of relief knowing soon they won't have to. At least this theory holds up in the Edwin Robinson's poem, "Richard Corey."
Just look at how liked the man is, "he glittered when he walked. / And he was rich-yes, richer than a king" (that last bit is about the money, not the fame, but still, trust me as a poor college student - money matters.) Well, since Richard Corey went home and shot himself, it is obvious that all that jazz didn't hold the card he felt he needed to suceed in life.
Richard Corey manages to keep on going through it all - until, "one calm summer night, / Went home and put a bullet through his head." The entire poem works to set Richard Corey up as a man that everyone wants to be - then he kills himself. Did Richard Corey put a stop to other people wanting to be exactly as he was by ending so violently? No.
Maybe Richard Corey went the way of Hemingway. His theory in life was that once people stop being useful, they should die - not wither into old age. So he, like Richard Corey killed himself. Is that the way we should all go? I wonder if that is what Edwin Robinson was trying to get at.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at November 8, 2004 2:43 PM

Wow Diana, that was harsh. I never thought to make the connection between Hemingway and Robinson's poetry. However, I do not think that suicide is the answer. I think that Hemingway was just a cranky person and he didn't want to help anyone but himself.


Posted by: Tiffany at December 1, 2004 2:04 PM

I get a different message from this poem, because I myself can relate to the character Richard Corey. The poem sets up Richard Corey to be a successful rich man that everyone wants to be. However, no one sees what happens in his personal life. What good are all the riches in the world if you have no one to share them with? Where's the significant other in the picture? There is none, and that alone can be enough to drive any man insane... insane enough to end his seemingly perfect life.

Posted by: Shevan Breaux at March 7, 2005 4:45 AM

No one mentions how Simon and garfunkel loved loved loved this poem in high school and changing it slightly put it to music on one of the eraly albums....of course I agree with Shevan,its about being lonely,the grass always being greener,and havinf material things dosen't equate to true inner happiness......The Evil hand

Posted by: the evil hand at April 15, 2005 10:24 AM

I think you have it wrong... This is a poem that speaks to perceptions and then puts an exclamation to the fact that perceptions are not necessarily correct (with the suicide).

Sometimes we delude ourselves into thinking others have it, or are much, better than ourselves. This poem shows that Mr. Corey had his own problems, and was not what we perceived him to be.

Posted by: Tim at May 10, 2005 3:15 AM

I agree with Shevan, about the fact that having nobody is enough for people to drive themselves insane. I am certainly not rich, but some people look up to me for things I do in school, but it means nothing to me. I just wish I could have somebody to be with, but I doubt it will ever happen. Richard Corey is my hero and I wish I could follow in his footsteps.

Posted by: J at October 7, 2005 9:49 PM

Richard Corey might as well be my brother. He lived the perfect life, 43, gorgeous, slim,huge brand-new home on 10 idyllic acres of land, great job, high pay, all the money he needed... he was married, and we thought, happy. Till one night, after having a wonderful time at a party, he came home and shot himself in the head. This poem is all about our misguided perception of people's happiness. Everyone thought Richard Corey (and my brother) had it all, when, in fact, they were the masters of deception, they were suicidal and severely depressed. I talked to my brother several times a week and had no clue. Nobody did. Except for his wife, we found out later, and she was too stupid to do anything about it. After he died, the night of the wake, we were all sitting around, and Richard Corey popped into my head. I googled it up, and there he was. My brother.

Posted by: Anne at February 16, 2006 10:56 AM

the point of the RICHARD COREY Story is that things are not always as they appear to be. The external perspective and the internal perspective do not always match.

Posted by: Anthony at February 19, 2006 12:03 AM

I think Edwin Robinson was trying to get at how what may seem important, may be meaningless. We donít know if the people still desire to be Richard Corey after he commits suicide or not, but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that to everyone else, he was living the superlative life, and with his suicide, we see how discontent Richard Corey really was. If he shot himself because he felt meaningless, the fact is, everyone else living in poverty, were in fact more content then Richard Corey ever was.

Posted by: robert at July 8, 2006 12:37 AM

I believe Hemingway is trying to portray to the reader the idea that having a materialistic attitude leads to over all complete failure. The items and "materials" around us are here to increase our levels of pleasure but when we use these materials to find meaning in our lives, life seems to be truly pointless. Richard Corey did not want to deal with the idea that his appearance of happiness was actually a complete fraud. I still strongly believe that suicide is not the answer.

Posted by: Farva at August 23, 2006 8:48 PM

I think this man was living what his ideal of happiness was, but when it failed him he died spiritually. It was not his fault. It was a learned behavior and thus becomes habit. He probably didn't know how to change. It's like keepin' up with the Jones'. He just happened to have more money than his neighbor and kept up a better facade. He probably had had a chemical imbalance called major depression too. Sometimes all the meds in the world cannot cure. People that do not have it will never understand it. Education is only a beginning to reach out to those who have it. I have it. I know. I have been suicidal. It is not easy to deal with, but I keep going.

Posted by: Shelly at December 16, 2006 11:56 PM

man this is a life lesson right here it shows that life isnt about just money and that money isnt sucess at all look deeper into

Posted by: Amber at August 19, 2007 9:52 PM
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