The present society is non far from the 1 that passed less than a century ago. Like earlier. people presents still pay high respect to material wealth. popularity and credence. They still search for felicity. which they think can be found in stuff success. This similarity in society’s criterions can be seen by comparing verse forms written in the early 1900s and a vocal recorded in the seventies. Together. the poems “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson ( 1972 ) and “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Arden ( 1940 ) and the vocal “Richard Cory” by Simon & A ; Garfunkel ( 2001 ; 1966 ) talk about a similar subject.
These literary plants satirize people’s hunt for felicity in stuff success. and the criterions that the past and present societies have promoted. Robinson’s “Richard Cory” chiefly talks about a adult male who lives unhappily despite his wealth. Simon & A ; Garfunkel’s vocal. which has the same rubric. is evidently based on Robinson’s verse form but the songsters added more inside informations sing the character. Like in Robinson’s verse form. Richard Cory in the vocal is besides rich. He is the proprietor of a mill. “He had everything a adult male could desire: power. grace. and style” ( Simon and Garfunkel 4 ) . Peoples look up to him because of his wealth.
They think of him as a complete adult male for he has everything they do non possess. In Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen. ” the adult male possesses material things such as “a record player. a wireless. a auto and a Frigidaire” ( 21 ) . Although these are non truly marks of wealth these yearss. they are still material ownerships. Therefore. comparing the three work forces. one can see a major similarity among them: their stuff success. All three work forces have all the material things they need to last and be accepted in society. The characters besides reveal other features that make them finish to the eyes of their perceivers.
Richard Cory has grace and manner. which he attains through instruction. It is common cognition that to derive instruction in the past requires fiscal stableness. Therefore. holding grace and manner still suggests wealth. Likewise. in the vocal. Richard Cory has political connexions. This still implies material wealth for it is impossible to be connected with people of high position if one is hapless. Auden’s character is presented in a somewhat different manner. The unknown citizen is revealed to be a adult male who closely follows the regulations of society.
He is non affluent as Richard Cory but his records show that “no functionary complaint” ( 2 ) is of all time filed against him. He paid his dues. insured himself. and “served the Greater Community” ( 5 ) . In other words. he does all his responsibilities to the society. Carry throughing these responsibilities means holding the stuff capableness to make so because those responsibilities imply the usage of money. To pay one’s dues. insure oneself. and serve people require money. In other words. although there is difference in the manner the unknown citizen is presented. he portions the same world of necessitating money in order to populate by society’s criterions.
This truth suggests the sort of society that existed in the yesteryear and still exists in the present. Like in the yesteryear. money is still the centre of people’s attending. Peoples use money to derive credence into society. they use it to weigh people’s worth like in the “Unknown Citizen. ” and they rely on it to judge a person’s fulfilment. For people. the more wealth one has. the more success he has. The three verse forms emphasize material wealth as the footing of felicity. The return of the subject emphasizes the satirical quality of the three plants. In “Richard Cory. ” material wealth makes him enviable.
His luck makes people cuss the life they live for they equate happiness with material success. For the people. being rich serves as the criterion for felicity. There is a strong contrast between the people and Richard Cory in the two plants. While people live in poorness. work difficult and survive with hungry tummies. Richard Cory throws parties. owns a yacht. meets other affluent people. etc. Although the unknown citizen in Auden’s verse form is non surprisingly affluent. his freedom from debt. ability to back up five kids. and help of insurance suggest his fiscal capableness. The stoping of the verse forms further contains satirical elements.
Notably. Richard Cory commits suicide. proposing unhappiness despite his stuff ownerships. Likewise. the unknown citizen’s felicity is in inquiry as reflected in the line. “Was he loose? Was he Happy? The inquiry is absurd” ( 29 ) . This line implies that it is non of import to cognize if he was happy or free. To the character. what is of import is that the citizen obeys the regulations of society and conforms to its norms. As the character believes. it is absurd to oppugn the citizen’s felicity because the society does non judge people by their felicity. This is chiefly because they do non cognize the existent significance of felicity.
As the three verse forms reveal. the society upholds stuff felicity more than other signifiers of felicity such as religious felicity. For them. the gage of perfect life is measured by a man’s ownerships. Given the belief of the people. the writers of the plants present sarcasm at the terminal. The self-destruction of Richard Cory reveals to the people that their impression about felicity is incorrect. The writers of Richard Cory end their plants in a calamity to stress that material ownerships entirely do non finish a adult male. Likewise. Auden suggests the unhappy life of the citizen despite carry throughing his responsibilities to his people.
This shows excessively that freedom from fiscal troubles does non vouch freedom and felicity. The return of the subject of material ownership and the dissatisfaction attached to it closely satirizes world. Many people equate material success with self-fulfillment. Many strive to have large sign of the zodiacs. luxury autos. signature apparels and other ownerships but still stop up unhappily. We have seen how Michael Jackson’s celebrity and success ended in a catastrophe. Kurt Cobain’s suicide despite a still turning calling. and Elvis Presley’s dependence that led to his ill-timed decease.
Similarly. we see people like former presidents rise in power yet still clamour for more as if there is no terminal to their lives. Indeed. like the people in the three plants. our society has remained mercenary and avaricious. We still make the same errors that former people did. We make physical ownerships our highest criterion to derive credence. We judge people by their wealth. connexions and physical visual aspects. We pay attending to how people fulfill their responsibilities more than how we reach out to them. As the same attitude recurs in our history. the kernel of the three verse forms particularly the character of Richard Cory lives on and on.
Plants Cited Auden. W. H. “The Unknown Citizen. ” Another Time. Michigan: Random House. 1940. pp. 83-84. Richard Cory. Youtube. 1966. Music Video. Accessed 20 May 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=euuCiSY0qYs & gt ; . Robinson. Edwin Arlington. “Richard Cory. ” Mirrors: An Introduction to Literature. Ed. In Knott. J. & A ; Reaske. C. Michigan: Canfield Press. 1972. p. 211. Simon. P. & A ; Garfunkel. A. “Richard Cory. ” Sounds of Silence. Sony Music. 2001. Cadmium. Part of conformance and being a Modern adult male is to hold all these material things.
Like Richard Cory. the unknown citizen possesses the money to be in a society that pays utmost importance to money. Based on this. one can organize a image of a society that promotes philistinism. In Auden‘s verse form. “The Unknown Citizen. ” the character describes both the “Modern man” ( 20 ) and the society he lives in. and Simon and Garfunkel’s vocal with the same rubric. material wealth signifiers portion of being accepted in society. Richard Cory is described in both plants as rich. “richer than a king” The return of this subject in the plants emphasize the criterions that both past and present societies hold onto.