Thursday, September 26, 2019
Richard Cory from a Nineteenth and 20th Century Perspective Essay
Richard Cory from a Nineteenth and 20th Century Perspective - Essay Example The words have evolved from a nineteenth century idyll on a mysterious and respected man of a class admired from afar, to a modern icon of privilege, greed, self aggrandizement and abuse of position at the expense, as it is seen, of the common working man. There is clearly a connection in the struggle of the working classes prominent in American realism both at the turn-of-the-century and in the 1960s when Simon and Garfunkel wrote their lyrics. However, we see from the reaction of the speakers a growing sense of hopelessness and anger over time from RobinsonÃ¢â¬â¢s character who, while going Ã¢â¬Å"without meat,Ã¢â¬ and cursing Ã¢â¬Å"the bread,Ã¢â¬ still await Ã¢â¬Å"the light.Ã¢â¬ (Robinson 13-14). For Simon and GarfunkelÃ¢â¬â¢s character there seems no hope, no Ã¢â¬Å"lightÃ¢â¬ as they say, Ã¢â¬Å"And I curse the life IÃ¢â¬â¢m living and I curse my povertyÃ¢â¬ (Simon and Garfunkel 6-7). As an extension of the realism of the nineteenth century, Robinson can be placed at the beginning of the Ã¢â¬Å"naturalist movement,Ã¢â¬ which sought to write Ã¢â¬Å"about the fringes of society, the criminal, the fallen, the down-and-out, earning as one definition of their work the phrase sordid realismÃ¢â¬ (Penrose par. 18). ... 3). Simon and Garfunkel, from a more acerbic, less flattering perspective suggest Cory as a superficial product of being Ã¢â¬Å"born into society, a bankerÃ¢â¬â¢s only childÃ¢â¬ (Simon and Garfunkel 3), hardly a gentleman whom, it is rumored, hosts Ã¢â¬Å"parties and orgies on his yachtÃ¢â¬ (Simon and Garfunkel 14). While RobinsonÃ¢â¬â¢s rich man is almost ethereal, the other is portrayed as a negative product of wealth and powerÃ¢â¬âan advantage despised by the narrator who complains: I work in his factory And I curse the life I'm living (Simon and Garfunkel 27-28) From an historical perspective this difference in viewpoints projects the naivete of earlier times when the rich were placed on pedestals, and by the sixties were viewed in a less positive social light. Instead of RobinsonÃ¢â¬â¢s main character as a man Ã¢â¬Å"possessed by disgust and self pityÃ¢â¬ (Kaplan 36), Simon and GarfunkelÃ¢â¬â¢s character is a self aggrandizing, morally bankrupt product of wea lth and privilege. Neither man can assuage their consciences: Simon and GarfunkelÃ¢â¬â¢s although he Ã¢â¬Å"freely gave to charityÃ¢â¬ (Simon and Garfunkel 23), nor RobinsonÃ¢â¬â¢s, though he condescended to greet his lesser beings with Ã¢â¬Å"Good-morningÃ¢â¬ (Robinson 8). The overriding sense in reading both the poem and Simon and GarfunkelÃ¢â¬â¢s lyrics is one of irony, though in Simon and GarfunkelÃ¢â¬â¢s the reader gets a better glimpse of the man. Yet according to P. Cohen, RobinsonÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"CoryÃ¢â¬ is the perfect parable set against the perfect irony that pervades the work. P. Cohen writes: Ã¢â¬Å"Richard CoryÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬ ¦[illustrates] how we, as individuals, should cherish that which we have, because the truly important things in life can be lost if our attention strays to envy.