Reading like a dialog ripped from the life of a married couple, Home Burial is more of a conversation than a poem. With no real introduction, Robert Frost gives the reader an intrusive look at an intimate moment in a couples life.
Home Burial is a poem written to show the different grieving methods people may take. Dealing with the death of a child, Frost shows the rift that human emotion may make on a bond as strong as marriage. The poem opens with a confrontation between a man and woman, later revealed to be husband and wife.Taking place inside the couple’s household the husband inquires to the wife about why she is always looking out the window from the top of their stairs.
Offering her husband no answer he looks for himself and realizes what it is she always sees, the grave of their child. It’s during this opening scene that the reader gets an idea of the conflict between the couple. After the husbands reaction to what he sees his wife challenges, “what is it – what? “(18) and after he explains he sees it she replies “you don”t tell me what it is. (20)It is this portion of the conversation that shows the reader the husband has not noticed the grave of their son from their own house.
The confrontation escalates when the husband tries to discuss their child. This is shown when the husband states “Can”t a man speak of his own child he’s lost? “(38) and his wife replies “Not you!.. “(39).
As the two proceed to talk the reader learns that the wife is beyond upset with her husband regarding their lost child and his lack of grieving.She questions him as to how he could bring himself to dig their child’s grave himself and regarding his actions she says ” I thought, who is that man? I didn”t know you. “(83). This statement helps to reveal how upset she is with her husband, and she goes on to tell him how she remembered him talking about his every day concerns and discussing the weather only minutes after burying their child.
After unleashing bottled up anger at her husband about his lack of public grieving, and realizing she will not be able to make him see from her point of view, she storms from the house leaving her husband behind.The husband is not the only person left behind though, as the reader is left wondering how the situation may be resolved, but not getting a chance to see it. Frost composed Home Burial using dark tones, casual language, and a powerful dialog. Not using common poetic tools such as rhyme or rhythm, frost relies on the emotional conflict and dark subject to captivate the reader.
Though it has a dark tone, anger and frustration are just as apparent.Frost doesn”t try to hide the wife’s anger towards her husband, her dialog is abrupt and has a frustrated tone. It’s also not kept a secret that the husband can”t quite get a grip on why his wife is so upset and this is shown by his controlled and understanding comments as he tries to get to the bottom of a situation. It is the contrast between their verbal mentalities that Frost comes across as a true genius, and gives the reader such a true to life look at the conflict a married couple might be faced with.