Essay on Home Burial by Robert Frost

1394 Words6 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 jeopardy—in danger of being buried. Further, Amy, because of her introspective grieving, risks burying both her marriage and her sanity. The husband enters the stairway from below and sees her before she sees him,…show more content…
Her rejoinder that he is "sneering" makes him upbraid and half-threaten her and ask why he cannot talk about "his own" dead child. This provokes her longest speech, briefly interrupted by his comment that he feels so "cursed" that he should laugh. The essence of her complaint is that he does not know how to speak, that she could not even recognize him when he dug the grave so energetically that he made "the gravel leap and leap," and that his voice then was too "rumbling" when he commented that foggy and rainy weather will rot good birch fences. Concluding that he cannot care, she in turn generalizes: Friends grieve for another's loss so little that they should not bother "at all," and when a person "is sick to death" he "is alone, and he dies more alone." Even when survivors attend a burial they are busy thinking of their own lives and actions. She calls the world evil and adds that she will not have grief this way if she "can change it." He mistakenly feels that she has said her say, will stay now, and should close the door. She blurts out that he thinks "the talk is all" and that she must "go—/ Somewhere out of this house." He demands to know where and vows to "bring you back by force." Forms and Devices "Home Burial" achieves tension first of all through its use of unpretentious wording in blank verse, a poetic form with a tradition going back centuries, to tell a tragic domestic story in a homely locale. More obvious tension results from the
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