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Four American Authors Review Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2021

Richard Cory is the work of Edwin Arlington Robinson. It is a poem with four stanzas; with each stanza having four lines. Three of the four stanzas have a rhyme scheme that takes the pattern a, b, a, b. The other stanza, which is the second stanza has uniform rhyme with each line in the stanza ending in the letter “d”. This gives the stanza the scheme of a, a, a, an as its rhyme. The effect of this well-structured rhyme on the tone of the poem is evident upon recitation as it gives it a musical sound. It also offers a complimentary flow that supports the events in the poem that begin with a clear description of Richard’s good disposition and end with his suicide. What is this poem about?

Richard Cory is about a man whose manners are impeccable. He is separate from the rest of society. This is shown by the way the rest watch him as he passes by. They pay close attention to his outstanding dresses as well as his manner of speech. He is calm and greets them with respect and grace. In the last stanza, a big irony is presented when the persona tells us that Richard has taken his life. The question that comes up here is: Why should a gentleman such as Richard take his life? The effect of irony that Robinson achieves in this poem is outstanding. It is not expected that a man of Richard’s standing will commit suicide. Perhaps this serves to remind us of the complexities of life in society.

How I Met My Husband is the work of Alice Munro. The story appeared in Munro’s work entitled Something I have Been Meaning to Tell You. Edie, the teenage girl employed as a domestic servant for the Peebles family is the one telling the story. It is in the first person, an attribute that gives it a great sense of realism. The focus is on the way to access happiness. The images of women waiting for letters by their mailboxes and a pilot landing a plane across the street represent the illusion of good life ahead. But Edie realizes that she has nothing to look forward to and if it is happiness, the chance at hand is the best.

Ethics is the most famous work of Linda Pastan. She was born in New York and spent a great length of her quiet life trying to explore the meaning of ethics in the face of rampant injustice and disregard for human life. In Ethics, a teacher is said to have presented students with a question on what to salvage between a Rembrandt painting and an old woman with a few days to live. This dilemma presents a classic case of the battle between the clamor for material things and the protection of human life.

Oedipus the King is the work of Sophocles, the renowned Greek playwright. In this work, Oedipus realizes that he is the one who killed his father, King Laius, and married Jocasta, who happens to be the dead king’s wife and Oedipus’ mother. The discovery is too much for Jocasta; so she ends up taking her life. Oedipus takes his life too. The overriding idea here is the inescapable nature of fate in that Oedipus was cursed and not even the action of discarding him would help.

In “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes, we are given the tension that exists in American society at the time when the poem was written. The race issues are brought out in the mentioning of color and white. The fact that white America is struggling to marginalize colored America which is black America is clear in this poem. The disassociation of whites from blacks or colored people is a distant allusion to the way the Nazis tried to distance themselves from Jews leading to the Holocaust where six million Jews were killed. It is also reminiscent of the rejection of Jesus Christ by those who killed Him. This poem captures the tormented life of a black young man in an evil and racist society that cannot hesitate to subject even kids of less than twenty-two years to racist vitriol. Hughes mentions that he was twenty-two years when he wrote the poem.

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1. IvyPanda. "Four American Authors Review." December 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/four-american-authors-review/.


IvyPanda. "Four American Authors Review." December 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/four-american-authors-review/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Four American Authors Review." December 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/four-american-authors-review/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Four American Authors Review'. 28 December.

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