People can suffer in silence and suddenly they either shock us by doing something drastic or they emerge as heroes who win our admiration. ” a) Briefly outline what happens in “Richard Cory” and “God’s Work”. Richard Cory, the subject of the poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is a man who is highly favored in his community. The working class citizens, one of which is the narrator of the poem, are always admiring his sophistication and his regal attitude. They also have high regards for his humanity, wealth as well as his status in education.
The people think that Richard Cory is everything; they begin to cut back on the things they do in hope to achieve a similar lifestyle to the one that Richard Cory lives. However, without any identified reason, Richard kills himself, bringing surprise to the ones who admire him together with the reader. In the poem “God’s Work” by Ian McDonald, death also occurs, however, being of a different state to that of “Richard Cory”. The poet respects the main character, Mister Edwards, who is his gardener, handyman and a good friend.
Mister Edwards is a strong man, both physically and mentally, and a handsome man too. However, he is ill and is experiencing the factors of death. Although Mister Edwards suffers a slow and excruciating death, he shows his great appreciation for the things he experiences. He believes that whatever happens, whether it may be pleasing or dissatisfying, it is God’s work and it happens for a reason. Coming on to the end of the poem, the poet describes the pain that Mister Edwards endures, and how many people believe that he has a strong heart.
Finally, he dies, and the persona cynically cries out “God’s Work”. b) How does the statement above apply to each poem? After reading the poems “Richard Cory” and “God’s Work,” it is clearly recognized that the statement is applied in both poems. In the poems, the two main characters suffer silently, however, in “Richard Cory,” his death shocks the reader and in “God’s Work”, Mister Edwards’ strength allowed him to become admirable to the reader. The first half of the poem that states, “People suffer in silence and suddenly they either hock us by doing something drastic,” is in relation to the poem “Richard Cory”. The way in which Richard lives his life and carries himself is admired by the narrators, who continually describe his characteristics throughout most of the poem. This may be evident where they describe him as being, “Clean favored, and imperially slim. ” The working class also tries their utmost best to become an individual such as Richard, evident in the lines, “In fine, we thought he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light, and went without the meat, and cursed the bread. ” Through this way of thinking, Richard Cory creates an extreme shock to the reader, by killing himself on “one calm summer night”. “God’s Work” relates to the second half of the statement which says that the people who suffer in silence, “they emerge as heroes who win our admiration. ” It is evident throughout the poem that Mister Edwards is suffering from a painful illness. The poet describes Mister Edwards’ suffering; the “spasms” he experiences “crumpling up his face. However, he tries to maintain his dignity even during death through “the effort to hold back the gut contracting cry”. Obviously, Mister Edwards is a man of good faith in God. He accepts that even the worst that can happen is a part of “God’s Work” as well as the death that he is experiencing. Mister Edwards’ struggle reveals his strength of character and his heroism allowing him to become such an admiration to the reader. c) In each case, what poetic device does the poet use to make us feel shock or admiration?
The poetic device that the poets use in both poems is that of situational irony, so as to make us feel shock or admiration. In “Richard Cory”, by the way in which the citizens speak about Richard Cory’s wealth, education and his general way of living, the reader is made to believe that he is contented with his life. This may be evident in his royality; him being “a gentleman from sole to crown, clean favored, and imperially slim. ” Further, it is also obvious in the way Richard Cory “glittered when he walked,” and how rich and “admirably schooled” he is.
The citizens long to become as successful as Richard Cory is and “waited for the light”. However, at the end of the poem, the situational irony shocks the reader, as the narrators reveal that Richard Cory kills himself. This occurs since the reader did not expect such a humble and pleasant man, who seems to have everything, to do something that drastic. For the poem “God’s Work” many situations of irony occur. However, the ironic situation that allows the reader to evoke feelings of admiration is the situation where Mister Edwards accepts death as the actions of God despite the nature of the event.
Although many would think that “God’s Work” is just about the blooming flowers and the rising sun, Mister Edwards believes that harsh storms and floods are also “God’s Work”, evident where the persona says, “’God’s work’, he would say when the rain pelted down and floods rushed in rivers and storms lashed the tree-tops”. The reader may wonder why such an agonizing death is experienced by someone who is said to be of good character, as he is described by the persona in the second stanza, but Mister Edwards has faith in God, believing that he allows suffering for there is a reason behind it.
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