Richard Cory, Atticus Finch and Jay Gatsby: The Similarities Between Them

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Atticus Finch, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, reveals an interesting fact about people. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 39). Finch’s quote should be when remembered when reading The Great Gatsby and “Richard Cory” because it reveals a relevant motif. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and in Erwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” Jay Gatsby and Richard Cory are mysterious men with grand amounts of wealth and fame; however, their wealth and fame does not make them as happy as they seem.

Jay Gatsby and Richard Cory are both mysterious men to everyone they meet. Both texts do not reveal a lot of information about their pasts. In the novel, Gatsby does not tell very much about himself, which is shown through Nick’s observation: “I had talked with him perhaps six times in the past month and found, to my disappointment, that he had little to say” (Fitzgerald 64). No one knows much about Gatsby at all. At his parties, people gossip and speculate about Gatsby all night long. In fact, some thought he was a Germany spy in the war, even though he was apart of the American army. However, most people think Gatsby has killed a man (Fitzgerald 48). In the poem, everyone thinks that Richard has it all, but they do not really know how he feels as seen later in the poem: “In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place” (lines 11 and 12). Richard ha

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Both Jay Gatsby and Richard Cory are both very wealthy and famous men. “And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -” (line 9). In the poem, it is shown that Richard is a very wealthy man and seems to be able to afford anything. Similarly, Jay Gatsby has more riches than he needs. “‘I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall’” (Fitzgerald 92). Gatsby has enough money to afford new fancy styles and materials of clothing every season. Along with being rich, they are also admired by many people. “But still he fluttered pulses when he said, 'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked” (lines 7 and 8). This text shows when Richard walks by, everyone stares and he makes them feel nervous. Plus, many people want to be Richard because they believe he is as happy as he seems. Every weekend, many people show up to Gatsby’s luxury parties, even if they are not invited. This is seen through the quote, “People were not invited - they went there. They got into automobiles which bore them out of Long Island, and somehow they ended up at Gatsby’s door” (Fitzgerald 41). This makes Gatsby’s house always full of activity as his servants are cleaning up after the party and then getting ready for the next party. Every Friday, Gatsby has crates of fruit, such as oranges and lemons, arrive to be made into juice for his parties (Fitzgerald 43-44).

At the end of the poem and the book, Gatsby and Richard die. They both were very tragic endings to the story, but the difference in the books and poems is how each of them dies. “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head” (lines 15 and 16). Richard ended up killing himself because nobody knew how he was really feeling on the inside. Richard’s death proves no matter how happy someone “should” be, it does not mean they are actually that content with themselves. Although Richard dies by his own hand, Gatsby dies by someone else’s hand.

There was a faint, barely perceptible movement of water as the fresh flow from one end urged its way toward the drain at the other. With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of transit, a thin red circle in the water (Fitzgerald 162).

Gatsby was murdered by George Wilson because he thought that Gatsby killed his wife, Myrtle Wilson. Wilson believed Gatsby killed Myrtle because he tracked the yellow car that ran over Myrtle and found it belonged to Gatsby. However, Wilson wrongly accused Gatsby because it was really Daisy who ran over Myrtle. “Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock - it must have killed her instantly” (Fitzgerald 151). Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy was driving when they ran over Myrtle, not Gatsby, as everyone believes.

Both In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch reveals that one does not know what others are going through. Atticus Finch’s quote relates to The Great Gatsby and “Richard Cory” because Gatsby and Richard are not as happy as they seem to be. Both Robinson’s Richard Cory and Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby have large amounts of mysteriousness, wealth, and fame surrounding them, even to the grave; however, their endless amounts of fame and wealth do not represent how they truly feel inside. 

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