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. . . When Robinson himself later turned to medieval legend, it was not asescape from reality but as study of human behavior and the human dilemma and asan indictment of war and the claims of empire. Although Miniver Cheevy has beenflattered by "false dreams" of splendor in the past, his creatorrecognized the "simple sad-color" of life past and present and thedebauchery of art in his own time. Howells adds in his essay that while the newromance "addresses mostly a crude and ignorant audience, . . . some betterinformed person may overhear. . . ." Robinson overheard.

Miniver Cheevy wanted to be the hero that Cory was to the people on the street.

They both have a need to escape the present, they choose to do this in different ways, Richard Cory takes his life, and Miniver Cheevy drinks and pretends he is a knight in medieval times.

He was richer than a king and very well mannered and graceful....

Miniver Cheevy has done nothing society has told him to therefore he is society’s outcast.

Moreover, even those poems most clearly identified with the myth, with personalhistory, often transcend the strictly individual and personal life of the characterdescribed. In "Miniver Cheevy," without question a self-portrait, Robinson couldlaugh at the contradictions in his own life; but, while laughing, he could see thatMiniver was a character to be projected into the universal. If he held the glass beforehis eyes and saw through himself, that was one thing and was important because it gave thepoem substance and a sense of the real. But Robinson was acutely aware of the complex andhighly structured nature of poetry; and he was, moreover, too skillful a craftsman not toinsist upon excellence in poetic form. Further still, he was especially conscious of thequality of language; the variable responses that words can and do elicit. In Cheevy,juxtaposed contrasts of past and present, of ideality and reality, of contempt for moneyand a recognized need for it, of Art and Romance on the one hand and vagrancy on theother: these are the elements that lift the poem onto a high plane of artisticachievement. Language and structure agree perfectly; and, as Robert Frost once noted, thatfourth "thought" in the last line of the seventh stanza, lying in wait for thereader just around the corner of the preceding line, is a crashing crescendo of the ironyinfused into the whole poem. [. . . ] In "Miniver Cheevy" Robinson portrays withwry irony a chap who misses, and complains about missing, all the beauty and all theglorious evil of the past. Paradoxically, the reader smiles and is sad; for Miniver is ahumorous figure and at the same time one to be pitied. Unredeemed and unredeemable, Cheevyscratches his head and coughs; he keeps on swigging his liquor and sinks into acomfortable oblivion.

"Miniver Cheevy" is generally regarded as a self-portrait. Thetone, characteristics sketched by Robinson and shared by the poet and Miniver,and the satiric humor of the poem all lead to that interpretation. Yet, althoughas a satire of the poet himself it is a delightful poem, Robinson jousts with adouble-edged satiric lance. More than a clever spoof of Robinson as Miniver, thepoem satirizes the age and, especially, its literary taste.

It was a gold cherry blossom pin.

Annie and Strat still kept going on cute, cheesy dates, but never kissed.

Robinson's central concern in the visions of romance he gives to Miniver isthe shallowness of a large amount of the published verse and fiction that1eaves"art a vagrant." His method in poetry often was "simply topresent his story, leaving the application to his reader, ending a poem,however, in a manner that may prompt reflection." Because "MiniverCheevy" is so easily perceived as simply self-ridicule, the furtherreflection that Robinson's poetry usually demands may seem unnecessary. Butwhite an easy poem may now and then be granted this complex and often obscurepoet, "Miniver Cheevy" functions at the deeper level as well. Thispoem, popular and enjoyable in any reading, thus warrants reflection, after all,and by the demands and rewards of reflection proves the richer. And at a timewhen America loved vigor but produced (with notable exceptions) an anemicliterature, a final irony, in retrospect, is that the ingenious double satire of"Miniver Cheevy" proves Robinson's own vigor, a vigor not physical,but artistic.

The stanza is the more humorously, satirically striking for its having beenreplaced immediately after the reference to art. The vagrant art is in fact themodern romance that wanders so far from truth. And Miniver Cheevy, so similar onthe surface of the poem to his creator, paradoxically is symbolic of the societyhypnotized into forgetting or ignoring the of the past—or thepresent, for that matter. There is no didacticism in the stanza, of course, thediction keeping the Medici reference on the satirical plane and Miniver on theridiculous. The opposition of "loved" and "sinned," thejuxtaposition of the rather lofty-sounding word, "Albeit," with theabsurd idea that follows, the ingenious inclusion of the one four-syllable word,"incessantly," among two lines otherwise containing allsingle-syllable words, and the images and references suggested by the stanzacause it to vibrate in two satirical directions, one enlarging the picture of ahumorously pathetic character, the other destroying the image of a gloriouspast.

from "The Double-Edged Irony of E. A. Robinson's 'Miniver Cheevy.'"  22.3 (Sept. 1986).
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Sometimes she is giving a cheeky smile and others she looks puzzled.

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Comparing Richard Cory and Miniver Cheevy Essay -- …

All of these weak characteristics hold true for the protagonist in the poem "Miniver Cheevy." One must express sympathy for a man "with reasons" to have "wept that he was ever born", but once it is understood that Miniver escapes the world of reality into his dreams induced by alcohol, the reader has a hard time still being compassionate for him....

Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Miniver Cheevy" Essay | Essay

Robinson’s desire to make accurate reports about objective states ofaffairs led him, in his early poetry mainly, to "hold up some fragment ofhumanity for a moment’s contemplation"—as he perhaps did in "JohnEvereldown," "Miniver Cheevy," and "Richard Cory,"indeed, all his well-known poems about eccentric, small-town characters.

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Randall’s choice to use the ballad form along with his strong words help us to feel the mother’s fear for her child and we assume the mother knew, from stories of previous marches, that dogs, clubs, and fire hoses will be used on the peaceful protestors....

richard cory miniver cheevy essays

"Miniver Cheevy" is usually described as a mocking self-portrait, but such anobservation tells us little about the poem itself. Indeed, such phrases as "mockingself-portrait" are usually a means of dodging a poem. I suggest that one must ask whyMiniver Cheevy (not Edwin Arlington Robinson) prefers an earlier, more"romantic" era than his own, what it is that he loses, if anything, by being outof phase with his time, and, finally, if his anachronistic attachment is virtuous orvicious. These questions burden an admittedly middle-weight poem and I shall not burden itfurther with specific answers. Still, does not the sum of reasonable answers amount to animpression that Miniver's escapism is really an effort to establish an individuality whicha world of "progress" denies?

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