?Richard Cory? By Edwin Arlington Robinson Essay, Research Paper
The Use of Death in Poetry
Poems reveal many inside thoughts of the speaker that can be interpreted by the reader. Death is expressed quite often in poetic work because of the simplicity to be able to express feelings. Suicide, for an example, is a form of death that may be used in poetry and is usually portrayed in a negative fashion. Surprisingly, some poems that involve death have a positive outcome. There are views found in poetry relating to suicide as a form of death that are both positive and negative.
Suicide as a negative perspective is a common form of death displayed in poetry. A very good example of death brought upon by suicide is “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson. In the passage, “And he was rich-yes, richer than a king,” Robinson describes the wealth and riches in which he lived. Richard seemed to be a person without problems. Later at the end of the poem in line fifteen the speaker says, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.” In one’s opinion, it may appear that money, wealth, and power is not everything. Perhaps Richard Cory was miserable because of the way people gazed at him which describes his suicide. Theoretically, the reader has to try to interpret the poem because of the lack of evidence explaining the reason of Cory’s suicide. This poem is an example of death in a negative perspective.
Another poem that explains suicide as a form of death, but in a somewhat positive fashion, is “R?sum?” by Dorothy Parker. In the passage, “Nooses give; /Gas smells awful; /You might as well live,” Parker describes that no matter how bad life may be, attempting to kill yourself is much worse. The first impression of this poem may seem negative, but in fact, it is positive because of the way it portrays the pain involved with suicide. Suicide does not guarantee a quick painless exit from an individual’s seemingly gloomy negative view of his or her world. Imagine as you view your life as a thumbs down experience at every turn, and your only way out is to end it all. You decide to hang yourself, but the “Nooses give” or you decide to slit your wrist, but you do not quite cut deep enough. All the pain you feel up to the point of wanting to commit the hideous act of suicide surely cannot compare to the physical anguish of a suicide attempt that just does not go as planned. All the negative energy created to try to end a life is directed in a more positive way to add meaning to an already existing life. The poem “R?sum?” tries to make the reader realize this point.
Death may truly be one of the most used themes in English poetry of the past and present. Moreover, death in poetic work is revealed through negative and positive views on life. Although some positive outcomes can be learned as a reader or a speaker of the poem, death in a poetic piece is usually symbolized as a negative approach to one’s life. “Richard Cory” and “R?sum?” are but just two poems that help us to realize that suicide is a very negative way to end life. Even though one may not agree killing his or her self is an overall positive decision, it is more frequently happening today. Until people can learn to solve their own problems reasonably, the suicide rate will continue to rise.
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