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In both In the Suburbs and Richard Cory, the poets present the concept that having money is not the most significant aspect of life.

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Introduction

Rob Ranson 15 February 2011 Misery or Happiness? The Influence of Wealth Considered by many to be their most prized and sought after possession, money is rather the capital for survival. For years, the concept of materialism has consumed society. The thought that money and majesty can make one happy has been a commonly shared notion throughout various cultures, causing people to seek happiness through tangible assets and higher social statuses. These seekers of happiness may never find it by achieving wealthier statuses, while others find satisfaction in modest lifestyles. It is the idea that money does buy happiness that is reflected in the poems "In the Suburbs" by Louis Simpson and "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Although the authors of both poems shed light on different perspectives of the socio-economic spectrum, the themes in both of the pieces are similar: purpose in life cannot be purchased. Both poems also give rise to the definition of the true American Dream is, since both a wealthy person in "Richard Cory" and a suburbanite in "In the Suburbs" seem to be unhappy with their lives. ...read more.

Middle

In "In the Suburbs," the tone shifts from pessimistic to submissive by Simpson's addition that "others before you / Were born to walk in procession" (5). In "Richard Cory", the tone shifts from one of pride and cheerfulness to one of sorrow. Nonetheless, both poems suggest that someone's life may not always be as it seems, and that life can be filled with emptiness despite all the possessions and adequacies that one may have. In Simpson's "In the Suburbs," the reader is introduced to the idea of dreadfulness with the line "There's no way out" (1). This line creates suspense for the reader - something that both Simpson and Robinson do effectively in their poems - by implying a prison-like lifestyle. Both poets create suspense through their use of similar syntactical strategies such as anaphora. For example, Robinson uses anaphora when writing "And he was always quietly arrayed / And he was always human when he walked" (5). He does this to emphasize to the reader that Richard Cory is not condescending or snobby, which evokes curiosity in the reader as to wonder why Cory seems to be so composed and humble, despite his obvious wealth and power in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Though Gatsby-like Richard Cory seems to have it all, the theme conveyed by Robinson is that happiness cannot be purchased or acquired with a higher social status. When Simpson's "In the Suburbs" was written over half a century later, the idea of the American Dream shifted to the suburbs of white America where life was dull and mundane, despite people's middleclass status and sufficient amounts of money. In the suburbs of 1950s American, money was unable to buy the individuality and happiness that its residents sought for, which caused them to have miserable existences. Essentially, "In the Suburbs," and "Richard Cory" present discrepancies between what appears to be true and what actually exists: the suburbs are portrayed as offering a comfortable life even though suburbanites are unhappy, and Richard Cory appears to be joyful when he is actually depressed and empty. The characters of both poems clearly enough wealth, yet they still remain discontent. Both poems convey the influence of money and status. Both poems also show that life is not always at it seems. Though they contrast in their structure, style, and tone, "In the Suburbs" and "Richard Cory" share the thematic message that happiness comes from within oneself, and not from having money or material goods. ...read more.

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