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How to live, as instructed by the poetry of Edwin Arlington

            How to live, as instructed by the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson .
             Edwin Arlington Robinson, one of the premier poets of his day, portrays a wide variety of characters in his verse. These characters are multifaceted and layered with depth despite their apparent shallowness. Each one of these characters's struggles share a common thread: they all concern how a person should go about living his/her life. Robinson exposes them for what they are and through them, deals with society's most imminent search: the search for authentic and non-transitory contentment. The solution that Robinson endeavors to force the reader to uncover in his narrative poetry is that people are essentially social creatures and that "no man is an island."" Furthermore, Robinson hopes to halt individuals from their steadied thinking that materialistic pursuits in life are productive. Robinson compels the reader to come to this conclusion through his careful and deliberate implementation of the themes in his verse.
             The only way that one can develop ties with genuine, feeling people is if he/she does not value the superficial more than the real. This idea is presented in the poem "Dear Friends."" In the poem the speaker explains to the reader that his "friends- make fun of him for wasting his life away "For bubble-work that only fools pursue."" The speaker mocks them for this and calls their work "bubbles- instead. He is ridiculed because his friends want him to live for the same reason they do "for material wealth. They are made insecure by the speaker challenging the way their lives are lived because he lives his life differently, and is content with it when he says "The shame I win for singing is all mine/ The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours."" In other words, only they think he is losing out; he does not. The "friends" are in denial about their materialistic endeavors. They want the path they are going down to be the correct one and they need the speaker on their side so they will not be questioned.

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