Men and Women

Men and Women

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Men and Women



At the beginning of the poem, the wife, Amy, is at the top of their stairs and is very upset after looking out the window down at their only child's burial site. Amy acts as if she has seen a ghost. When her husband asks what is wrong, she "refused him any help,/with the least stiffening in her neck and silence." (13-14) He passed her to look at what she had seen, but she was "sure that he wouldn't see." (16) He acted as if he had seen what was bothering her. He tried to tell her that he understood what she was going through, and that he felt the same way.
The husband speaks of their son's death as if it is something in their past that they should be over by now. As if you could ever get over the loss of your only child. He acts like it's not that big of a deal. It's hard to even tell if he is hurt at all. He says, "A man must partly give up being a man/With womenfolk." That is such a horrible thing to say to a person, especially your wife, who is grieving the loss of a child. As if Amy was the only one who lost someone. He should be just as upset as she is. If he doesn't have anything supportive to say, then he should not say anything at all.
When he doesn't have anything supportive to say to her, he makes her feel as if she is a bad person for treating him like this. She doesn't think that he even cares, or ever did for that matter, that their only child has died. After burying their little boy, he came in and started talking about how "Three foggy mornings and one rainy day/Will rot the best birch fence a man can build." (97-98) Why didn't he act like he cared at all? Did it not occur to him that he had just placed his little boy in the ground? That he would have lost his only child?
This seems to be a true-life account. I could see this being a true story because that is exactly how some relationships are between men and women. If the women are upset about something, instead of caring and trying to console her, the man will run away from facing what is wrong.

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If the woman is asking for support, the man should try and give it to her. He only made her feel worse. Not only is Amy upset that she lost her little boy, but she is also upset because her husband isn't.
Now I'm not saying that all men are insensitive and cruel. I see both of their points. The husband is mad at the wife for being so upset, but if he would show that he cared rather than getting mad at her, she wouldn't be so upset. Being in a relationship takes a lot of hard work and compromising, from both of the people involved. I realize that we are only looking at one situation in their lives that they are arguing about. If the husband is upset about something, the wife should try to help him get through it. I know that it works both ways. But in the loss of a child, both the husband and wife should comfort and support each other. They are supposed to be there for each other.
I'm sure that most men and women have very different feelings and reactions to this poem. Some men would probably think that Amy grieved too long and blamed her husband unfairly. I could see where they would be coming from, but they would need to look at her side, too. He should care enough about her feelings and problems that he should want to help her through anything.
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