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The Role of Unfulfilled Expectations in E. A. Robinson's Richard Cory

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The Role of Unfulfilled Expectations in E. A. Robinson's Richard Cory

In E. A. Robinson's "Richard Cory", Cory commits suicide because he could not live up to everyone's expectations of him. In the very first stanza of the poem Cory is described by the author: "He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim" (Robinson l. 3 & 4), suggesting and comparing him to royalty. Surely, living up to such a hierarchy is the most taxing task one can be appointed. The poem makes reference to his material possessions, suggesting this is one of the key qualities people admire him for. Cory possibly facing bankruptcy feels he will be nothing and thought of as nothing once these gifts are gone. Such high expectations
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Surrounded by other royalty-like individuals, Cory would have had people to support him and balance out the share of expectations. Cory has bared the pressures of backbreaking expectations for a good portion of his life, as his success did not just come about most recently. Being in such an elite position brings Cory to a breaking point and is why he has decided to take his own life.

Cory is admired for his "glitter" or material possessions every time he steps out into the public eye causing the man to be very conscious of his monetary worth. Robinson depicts just how wealthy everyone perceives the man to be: "And he was rich--yes, richer than a king" (l. 9). Once again a reference to royalty, but now Cory's wealth is being estimated to that of a King's. Even when Cory is in the privacy of his own home, society is aware of his wealth, this is what he is known for. The possibility of money mismanagement and Cory trying to stay in the spotlight with a flashy appearance causes Cory to spend more than he makes and is worth. Fearing he would be unable to stay fitted in the finest of clothes and jewelry, Cory is faced with the dilemma of being humiliated by bankruptcy or taking his life prior to this occurring. Unfortunately, the man decides facing death would be easier than the disappointment and embarrassment he would have to deal with. These ideas supporting the suicide theory are fully
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