Analysis of Home Burial by Robert Frost
Robert Frosts poem Home Burial relates a drama between an estranged man and his wife. He presents a dramatic poem in the form of a dialogue about a couple that argues, differs with their opinions, and separates at the end. The center of the argument is around the death of their child. The poem is rich in human feelings; it highlights the expression of grief, frustration and anger that the couple shares while trying to deal with the death of their child. The Analysis of the poem will emphasize on the dramatic situation and identify the different elements that formed it such as the form, the tone, the imagery, and the language.
Home Burial is a dramatic lyric in the form of a dialogue between two personae. The characters are Amy and her husband. The poem reveals two tragedies: The death of a child and the fall of a marriage. Although the death of the child is the reason why the couple is arguing, the bigger conflict that affects the marriage is the couples inability to communicate with one another. Both characters are mourning the loss of their child, but in different manners and neither one is able to understand the way their partner chooses to express their distress.
Robert Frost describes the couples situation in a tense manner. He uses imagery and tone to describe the scene and the couples feelings. These elements allow the reader to see and feel what Amy and her husband are going through. The setting of the poem is described as a staircase with a door at the bottom and a window at the top.
The first line of the poem shows that the husband is located at the bottom of the stairs, and his wife is staring at the window from the top of the stairs. The wife is so saddened by the death of her child that she is unable to stop grieving. She seems angry with her husband and is not interested in him anymore. Robert Frost writes that her face changed from terrified to dull when she saw her husband coming to her (line 9). The husband realized what she was doing at the window and when he tried to bring up their sons death, Amy became very angry and distant. The alliteration Dont, dont, dont, dont, on line 32 describes clearly Amys discontent. The husband does not understand Amys reaction. Frost writes that he asks: Cant a man speak of his own child hes lost? (line 37). The husband makes an effort to communicate with his wife and ask for redemption. He asks for a chance to make things right (line 64). However, his wife finds his tone arrogant (line 70) and does not agree with him. Frost shows a misunderstanding between Amy and her husband. The husband seems to have accepted the death of their child. He understands that death is natural and he is ready to move on and does not want to spend his life mourning. On the other hand, Amy cannot seem to let her grief go. She feels like her life has no meaning without her dead child. She is also angry with her husband because he dug their childs grave and buried him. She cannot understand why he did such thing. Frost uses another alliteration to describe movements on line 80. He writes: Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly. That expression shows the action of the husband digging his childs grave. Frost also uses assonance in the poem when he writes: And roll back down the mound beside the hole (line 82).
The last part of the poem is full of emotions. It marks the possible end of a marriage. The tone used is anger. The husband is clearly incapable of controlling his anger. He becomes sarcastic and very frustrated. He adds: I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed. Im cursed (line 93-94). His reaction and his choice of words make Amy weep and hurt. She decides to leave the house. Her husband is worried that she will go find someone else and ask her to stay home but she leaves anyway.
In Conclusion, Robert Frost used important tools like imagery and tone to give the reader a good description of the couples drama. Frost wrote this poem shortly after his own son died, which could have been the central purpose of the poem. An important theme of the poem is the importance of communication in a relationship. Amys and her husbands relationship could have been saved if they had just been able to communicate with each other.
Frost, Robert. "Home burial." Literature: A Pocket Anthology. 4th ed. Ed. R.S. Gwynn. NY: Pearson Penguin Academics, 2009. 582-585. Print