Richard Cory Poem Lesson Plan

Instructor: Hilary Reeser

Hilary has a B.A. in History, M.Sci. in Psychology and has taught secondary Social Studies, English and AP Psychology over her 17 year teaching career.

Students will analyze the poem Richard Cory using various literary devices. Students will then apply the poem to their own personal experiences of isolation or ostracism.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the poem Richard Cory
  • Analyze the poem Richard Cory using literary devices like juxtaposition and theme
  • Write about their own personal experience with isolation and ostracism


45 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Materials Needed


  • Ask students to write about a time where they felt that they didn't fit in with a group of people. Volunteers may share their answers.
  • Give each student a copy of the poem Richard Cory. Have students read it to themselves quietly, followed by the teacher reading it out loud.
  • Hand out a copy of The Poem Richard Cory: Analysis, Theme & Meaning. Have students follow along as you read it aloud.
  • Spend time reviewing the meaning of juxtaposition and theme.
  • Partner students and have partners find an example of juxtaposition in the poem and discuss these examples as a class to decide if they meet the definition of theme.
  • Do a Think-Pair-Share on the theme of the poem. Discuss these themes as class to decide if they meet the definition of theme.
  • Review the meaning of iambic pentameter and show students how it is used in one part of Richard Cory.
  • Ask students to mark iambic pentameter in another part of Richard Cory.
  • Using the previous partners, ask partners to examine why they think Frost uses iambic pentameter in this poem? How would the poem be different if iambic pentameter wasn't used?
  • Have students take the corresponding quiz to check for understanding.

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