Richard Cory - Title
We think that the life others are leading is supreme, highly ordered, impeccably designed and to make it worse, we glorify the negatives of our own life. The word ‘Compare’ takes birth along with us. We compare our lives with others. Juxtaposing our life and other’s life, we tend to magnify our negatives. What we don’t have is always glorified, while we underline the positives of others. The grass of my neighbour is always a shade greener than our grass. And we wrap our heads in distress. We suffer. In other words, our judgement makes us suffer.
This poem, adequately rhymed and metered, is all about our judgement. The fallacy of our judgement. The poet includes himself when he states “We people” in the second line. Why? May be because he thinks that he too has judged many in his life. He too has fallen victim to the wrong judgement.
Richard Cory was impeccably dressed man with good cultured disposition. He exuded positivity in his surroundings. He was a man with gentle manners. Edwin Arlington Robinson, an American poet, has augmented the effect of that statement by saying ‘from sole to crown’. What a good use of metonymy here! To enlighten you readers, Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a related term is used in place of the actual word. Example: from cradle to grave. This means from birth to death. It is generally used to give an added flavour to the text.
Richard Cory was very rooted when he talked to others. His air of propriety allured everyone. He never prided on his pomp and glitter. A level headed persona that he was, he did not have any shortage of wealth. The line ‘he was rich – much richer than a king’ vouches for that.
As our shallow thinking pervades us, we start to think that wealth equates happiness, people here too had a similar thought. They thought what does Richard have to worry about as he had everything from good property to rich life. And amid all of these, they cursed their existence. They hated their lifestyle and did not see any worth in slogging from dawn till sundown. They judged a book by its cover literally losing their mind and sanity over it.
And one day Richard Cory after his day’s work, he went to his abode and triggered a bullet. Triggered a bullet and smashed the judgement of each and everyone to pieces. Sadly, people did not realise that Richard too had puffy clouds hanging over his head. The quiet and elusive Cory did change the perspective of the people on that day when the cloudburst happened.
The poem also talks only about his virtues filtering out his vices or maybe Richard Cory was a person who wanted to keep his dark secrets to himself or it also says a lot about a myopic role of our eye. Our eyes always view the glitterati and glam but what lays inside those is overlooked.
Richard Cory suffered deeply from something which was not known to public’s eye. His death dawns on us, signifying mental health is far more important in our life. Everything is secondary. Mental sickness dwells deep.
This poem is so relatable to our circumstances and the world we live in. Especially social media adds fuel to this turmoil. The people who we mindlessly follow, the glitz and glamour of this Instagram society and every whereabouts shared on facebook as well as other platforms, one can easily be trapped like the people in the poem. One can easily make a judgement of a book by its cover. What we do not know is social media is just or even less than 1 percent of one’s reality. A person wearing a red lipstick might have given her unused crib for sale. A person having a picture-perfect Instagram page might be battling with autoimmune condition. A person posting a travel picture might have just served a notice period and is jobless. Social media swallows all of those and gives out an eye candy picture of one’s life as a residue. We should throw out the judgemental lens and be happy with our current life and standing. Every day when we see ourselves in mirror, let’s say it aloud “The grass is green on my side of the fence too”. Because it surely is. Let’s do this and remain stress free in present and the remainder of our life.
Richard Cory is everywhere. Be in corporates, our society where we live, the college corridors or the place where we travel during our vacations. He is everywhere in the form of people we meet. But do not get carried away like the people in the poem. Do not judge their state of mind from the attire they wear and the car they tour on. They might be suffering too. We all do. In different ways.
One more point is let’s not be this Richard Cory who just showcased his positives or glamourous social status to the people around us. Know your circle, build a small community wherein you can share your vulnerabilities and seek help when in the time of need.
I heard yesterday this line “It is time we gather because we are in the verge of losing ourselves”.
Invest in your small circle. Do not fire the bullet.