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Richard Cory Essay, Research Paper

The Barbie Doll and Richard Cory

The way our culture has a tendency to view other individuals by there appearance will probably never change. In some way everyone has it set in his or her mind what makes a person “perfect”. These characteristics include personal appearance, wealth and intelligence. We do not always get the chance to get to know a person, but rather make assumptions. Two poems, which reveal different perceptions of someone, include Richard Cory and The Barbie Doll.

In The Barbie Doll, the author writes about a girl’ s life. The author starts off by describing her childhood. She was given dolls and toys like any other girl and she also wore hints of lipstick. This girl was healthy and rather intelligent. Even though she had possessed many good traits she was still looked at by others as “the girl with a big nose and fat legs”. She exercised, dieted and smiled as much as possible to please those around her. She became tired of pleasing everyone else and decided to commit suicide. During her funeral those who she had tried to please in the past were the ones to comment about how beautiful she looked. Finally she had received the praise she was longing for.

In contrast, Richard Cory was viewed as the gem of the neighborhood, unlike The Barbie doll. Richard Cory was a man loved by all. He was a man that society had put up on a pedestal. He had the looks, wealth and the manner that everyone wanted. Even though people did not really know him they wanted to live like him and be like him. His fellow neighbors worked harder at their jobs thinking that it would help them be happy as they saw Richard Cory. Little did they know, that this man was not as happy, as everyone perceived him to be. One calm summer night Richard Cory put a bullet through his head.

Both of these poems portray two views of individuals by society. The girl in The Barbie Doll was healthy and intelligent, yet everyone still focused on her fat legs and big nose. This led the girl to do as much as she could to please those around her. This outlook can be compared to how women are portrayed in our society today. As we, women, look through magazines we are greeted by tiny women with big chests. Some of us feel that this is the way all women should look. Those who feel this way will do all that they can do to look like these models. Many women in our society are anorexic and bulimic, could this be because of society’s portrayal of women? I believe so.

In Richard Cory we stumble upon a different outlook of people in society. Some feel that the glamour and wealth of a person determines how happy with life they are. This is not always true. Just because a person has the money to flaunt does not mean that they are happy. This can be compared to how people look up to actors, actresses and other famous people. Some look at these people with such admiration and why? They seem to have not one worry in the world. Does money, looks, or any other materialistic thing make a person really happy? Not many people stop to think that these people are normal as the average Joe. They still have problems and worries just like you and me. Many people who are seen in this way usually are always putting on the happy face for the public. Hiding their problems inside so that others cannot detect the slightest bit of unhappiness. Is this really how you would want to live?

It is true that we cannot change the way that we appear to others, but we can be happy with ourselves. Maybe if the girl in The Barbie doll did not strive to please others, but please herself she would not have killed herself. Similarly maybe if someone stopped to make friends with this “perfect” man, Richard Cory, he would have not killed himself. Both of these poems are perfect examples of how our society interprets other people.


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