Robert Frost's dramatic dialogue poem, "Home Burial," is the story of a short, but important, episode in the marriage of a typical New England farm couple. They are "typical" because their "public" personalities are stoic and unimaginative, and because their lives are set within the stark necessities of northeastern American farm life. Yet, they are also typical in that their emotions are those one might expect of young parents who have abruptly and, to them, inexplicably lost their baby. Although their emotions would not, one presumes, be openly displayed to the community, the poem's reader is privileged to view them personally and intimately through the small window opened by the poet.
To some extent, it is easy to sympathize with both husband and wife in "Home Burial." Both are grieving, not only the loss of their child, but also the perceived loss of one another. Yet their loss of each other, as such things often occur, is driven by their own self-absorption and insensitivity to one another's feelings. That he intimidates her becomes evident near the beginning of the poem, as he insists upon knowing what she sees at the top of the stairs:
He said to gain time: "What is it you see?"
Mounting until she cowered under him.
"I will find out now -- you must tell me, dear"
Nevertheless, the intimidation seems unintentional. He is trying to make connection with her, trying to understand, although his insistance sounds peremptory. Although she "cowers," this action emphasizes her perception of the situation, not his.
She has designated herself the sufferer and him the tormentor, a designation which becomes clear immediately:
She, in her place, refused him any help,
With the least sti...
... middle of paper ...
...y and gender expectation. The husband subscribes to a patriarchal view of the relationship of husband and wife, while Amy's view is distorted by an innate inability to empathize with any "other," particularly a male. She is unbalanced by grief, but one may suspect that her lack of understanding of her husband is a pre-existing condition, a condition which has already motivated a breakdown in marital understanding. The child's death, then, is simply a trigger for a stronger reaction than any previous ones. Amy seems very young, with a lack of insight peculiar to the immature. This view of the matter leaves room for hope that the relationship may eventually stabilize and result in some practical unity.
O'Donnell, W.G. "Robert Frost and New England: A Revaluation." Robert Frost. Ed. James M. Cox. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962. 46-57.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In “Home Burial,” Robert Frost uses language and imagery to show how differently a man and a women deal with grief. The poem not only describes the grief the two feel for the loss of their child but also the impending death of a marriage. Frost shows this by using a dramatic style set in New England. In his narrative poem, Frost starts a tense conversation between the man and the wife whose first child had died recently. Not only is there dissonance between the couple,but also a major communication conflict between the husband and the wife.... [tags: Poetry, Frost, imagery]
1316 words (3.8 pages)
- "Home Burial," a dramatic narrative largely in the form of dialogue, has 116 lines in informal blank verse. The setting is a windowed stairway in a rural home in which an unnamed farmer and his wife, Amy, live. The immediate intent of the title is made clear when the reader learns that the husband has recently buried their first-born child, a boy, in his family graveyard behind the house. The title can also be taken to suggest that the parents so fundamentally disagree about how to mourn that their "home" life is in mortal jeopardyin danger of being buried.... [tags: Frost Home Burial]
1398 words (4 pages)
- Home Burial as a Reflection of Reality Robert Frost's "Home Burial" is a masterfully written work, conceived from his and his wife's anguish at the loss of their first-born son as well as from the estrangement between his sister-in-law and her husband due to the death of their child. In Donald J. Greiner's commentary on Frost's works, "The Indespensible Robert Frost," it is revealed that "Mrs. Frost could not ease her grief following Elliot's death, and Frost later reported that she knew then that the world was evil.... [tags: Home Burial Essays]
934 words (2.7 pages)
- The Selfish Misery of Home Burial Robert Frost's poem "Home Burial" is an intriguing portrait of a marital relationship that has gone wrong. Though at first glance it may seem that the cause for the couple's trouble is the death of their child, closer reading allows the reader to see that there are other serious, deeper-rooted problems at work. The couples differences in their approach to grieving is only the beginning of their problems. Many of the real problems lie in the wife's self-absorbed attitude of consuming unhappiness and anger.... [tags: Home Burial Essays]
1675 words (4.8 pages)
- The Insensitive, Selfish Husband of Home Burial Even in the closest of relationships, the death of a baby can separate and form a wedge between a husband and wife. Husbands and wives tend to handle the process of mourning differently, not only because of the differences between male and female, but also because of personality and the social molding in one's upbringing. In the poem, "Home Burial," Robert Frost gives a glimpse of the conflicts caused by non-communication and misunderstanding between a husband and wife upon the death of their first and only child.... [tags: Home Burial Essays]
1192 words (3.4 pages)
- The Three Tragedies of Home Burial Robert Frost’s "Home Burial" is a narrative poem that speaks of life’s tragedies. The theme of "Home Burial” centers around the death of a child. During the time period in which the poem is set, society dictated that men did not show their feelings. Therefore, men dealt with conflicts by working hard and being domineering. "Home Burial" demonstrates how one tragedy can cause another to occur. The unnamed couple in this poem has lost a baby to death.... [tags: Home Burial Essays]
1279 words (3.7 pages)
- Robert Frost's Home Burial Robert Frost's dramatic dialogue poem, "Home Burial," is the story of a short, but important, episode in the marriage of a typical New England farm couple. They are "typical" because their "public" personalities are stoic and unimaginative, and because their lives are set within the stark necessities of northeastern American farm life. Yet, they are also typical in that their emotions are those one might expect of young parents who have abruptly and, to them, inexplicably lost their baby.... [tags: Poetry Poets Dialogue Poems Essays]
1250 words (3.6 pages)
- Robert Frost's "Love and a Question," "Mending Wall," and "Home Burial" In Robert Frost’s poems “Love and a Question,” “Mending Wall,” and “Home Burial,” there is a significant barrier present between man and man or woman. Conflict between people is a major theme for these poems, and it alters the outcome of them. There is a great deal of tension present between the characters, causing unstable relationships, as well as a desire for no relationship at all. These three poems are based around knowing that conflict is inevitable, and it evidently causes a desire for little to no human interaction.... [tags: Robert Frost Question Mending Burial Essays]
2363 words (6.8 pages)
- Robert Frost's "Home Burial" is a tragic poem about a young life cut short and the breakdown of a marriage and family. The poem is considered to be greatly inspired and "spurred by the Frosts' loss of their first child to cholera at age 3" (Romano 2). The complex relationship between husband and wife after their child's death is explored in detail and is displayed truthfully. Among many others, the range of emotions exhibited includes grief, isolation, acceptance, and rejection. The differences in the characters emotions and reactions are evident.... [tags: Home Burial Essays]
1594 words (4.6 pages)
Symbolism of Death Used in Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson and “Home Burial by Robert Frost
- ... The theme in the poem is mortality because the speaker is familiar with death as something that happens on a daily basis, which it does. She seems to be fine with having death around and eventually learned that there is no way of escaping him, because his arrival is for only him to know. Lines 1-2, “Because I could not stop for Death-/he kindly stopped for me-“ personifies that Death stopped for her and she wasn’t able to call him, when she felt like it was her time to come to an end. Line 5 is another prime example of the theme, it says, “We slowly drove- He knew no haste.” The them in this poem is that Everyone is destined to dies at some point, but running away from the situation wil... [tags: poems, grieving, acceptance]
891 words (2.5 pages)